It’s not surprising to learn that a recent survey from caring.com revealed that more than three quarters of millennials have not taken the time to prepare a will. It’s a combination of being young adults who can’t quite imagine their own mortality and skirting the issue because it’s uncomfortable. However, what millennials don’t know, and need to learn, is that not having a will, even without a spouse or children or a large estate, can create a lot of problems for loved ones, like parents and siblings.
Kiplinger’s article “Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan” explains that a will details exactly how you want your property distributed after your death. A will also designates an executor to handle these transfers. If you will die intestate or without a will, the state decides how to distribute your property and funds. That process generally begins with your parents, if you're childless (unless an account like your bank account designates a beneficiary or is held jointly). Even if you want to leave everything to your parents, a will can make things a lot easier.
Two other important documents are a durable power of attorney, which names the person who can manage financial matters on your behalf if you’re unable, and an advance medical directive, which lays out your end-of-life wishes for life support, comfort, nourishment, and other issues. You also designate an individual to carry out these decisions on your behalf, either within the medical directive or in a separate document.
Without a legal document that specifies your wishes or that names a health care agent, you run the risk of a situation that won’t end well. If you fall into a persistent vegetative state, because of illness or an accident, you’ll probably be kept alive artificially.
Stop putting it off. Give thought to who you want to be in charge of your estate, if you should pass—that’s your executor—and who you would want to make decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to, both financial and medical. Remember that it does not have to be a parent or a sibling, but it does have to be someone you trust to make decisions and stick to those decisions. It may not be your best friend, but it needs to be someone who you can rely on.
Meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss what needs to be done for your particular situation. You may not need a complex plan, but you should have the right legal documents in place.
Reference: Kiplinger’s (August 30, 2018) “Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan”