Many millennials, also known as Gen Y, and members of Gen Z, also known as “zoomers,” are reluctant to think about and plan for their own deaths. It's not surprising; thinking about what will happen after you die isn't fun. But legal adults, no matter how young or old, need a basic estate plan.
If you're a millennial, born between 1981 and 1996, or a member of Gen Z, born 1997 or after, as defined by Pew Research, here are five issues you need to think about as you begin your estate planning.
1. Your health
When you're young, it's hard to imagine you'll ever be seriously ill or injured and be unable to make your own medical decisions. However, accidents and serious illnesses can happen.
When you become a legal adult, someone 18 and above, you might be unaware that your parents no longer automatically have the right to make medical or financial decisions on your behalf should you be unable to make them on your own. If you fail to have a health care power of attorney in place, a court proceeding might be necessary to appoint someone to fill that role. This situation can occur, for example, if you're in an automobile accident and unconscious.
2. Your finances
Another document that's essential for your care if you were to become unconscious or too ill to make your own financial decisions is a financial power of attorney. A financial power of attorney allows a person you've named to pay bills, take care of your home, manage your accounts, and make other money-related decisions for you. Again, if you fail to have this document, a court proceeding will be necessary to appoint someone to fill this role on your behalf.
3. Your digital assets
If you're like many millennials or members of Generation Z, you've likely amassed a large number of digital assets. These may include social media accounts, blogs, photographs and videos, financial accounts (like PayPal, Venmo, Bitcoin, or Amazon credits), and email accounts, among many others. Only you know the usernames and passwords to these accounts. If you're like many people, you haven't thought about who will be allowed to manage these accounts if you become incapacitated or die.
An estate plan allows you to appoint a person you trust to continue managing these accounts if you're too ill to do so and enables you to designate a person to inherit these accounts after you die. By planning for the future, you can be your own digital boss and decide who you wish to transfer your digital property to while ensuring no valuable or significant digital property gets lost.
4. Your pet
You might not have children, but you might have a pet you consider part of your family. According to an article in Forbes, millennials are responsible for adopting more furry companions than any other generation. Therefore, it's important to consider who would take care of your pet if you were unable.
An estate plan allows you to make arrangements for your pet if you die or are physically unable to care for them yourself. You can name a caregiver for your pet and provide specific instructions for them to care for your pet's needs.
5. Your social impact
You might not have many resources yet but might have specific causes or charities you wish to support. An estate plan allows you to accomplish your philanthropic goals regardless of your age or the size of your estate.
It's important to remember an estate plan is not just for the rich or elderly. People at every age should put together an estate plan that fits their needs and do a legal checkup and update as their needs change.
Consult a Seattle Estate Planning Lawyer Today
If you would like to discuss revising your existing estate plan or putting one in place, our Seattle-area lawyers can help. Our estate planning attorneys have extensive experience in this area and can develop an estate plan that works well for you and your family. Call our office today.
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