If you are in your twenties, estate planning may be so far down on your to-do list that you probably won't get to it in 10 or 20 years. However, now is the time to consider moving it closer to the top. While you might think that estate planning is only for the wealthy or people with kids, the earlier you start your estate plan, the easier it will be to make adjustments as your life changes.
Estate planning is not something that is solely connected to your net worth. It is more about planning for an eventual future, protecting your property and making things easier on your family. Here are a few reasons why you should start estate planning sooner rather than later.
You need a decision-maker
Estate planning is not just what happens at the time of your death. It is also useful in case you become incapacitated. For instance, if you were in a car wreck tomorrow that left you in a state where you could not make decisions concerning medical treatment or could not pay your bills, you will need someone with the authority to make decisions on your behalf. If you are unmarried and over 18, you might think your parents have the authority to do this. However once you became a legal adult, they no longer have the power to act on your behalf unless you explicitly grant it to them with a document like a power of attorney.
You may need a beneficiary
If you are fresh out of college and working your first full-time job, you might be receiving benefits such as the company paying into a retirement plan for you. If something happens to you, who will get the proceeds from the account? If you have not done so already, you will need to choose a beneficiary to receive the funds when you pass. This could be a parent, a sibling, niece or nephew or even your favorite charity.
A will can help your family avoid probate
Even if you only have a little money in the bank, it could spend months in probate in Pennsylvania if you do not have a will that specifies what you want done with your assets after your death. Or perhaps you have a long-term romantic partner whom you want to receive your property. If you are not married, your partner may not receive a dime of your money or your property if it is not specified in a will.
It is never too early to start the estate planning process. No matter where you are in life, having an estate plan in place can benefit you and your family if the unthinkable happens.