Author: Shameka Sterling
Estate planning, which includes wills, power of attorneys, living wills, etc., is a very important life process and helps families prepare for difficult or unexpected scenarios. These documents provide instructions to our family and the court as to what we want to happen in certain situations.
In general, young adults may think that estate planning is just for older or wealthy people. They do not understand that you do not have to have significant assets or be elderly to start preparing. They may not understand the importance of these documents because they do not know exactly what the documents are or what they mean.
While young adults may not think about estate planning, it is just as important for young adults, especially those who have children or may be heading off to college, to consider this issue as it is for their parents. As our lives get busier and more complicated, estate planning becomes increasingly important.
Last Will and Testament: A will states who will receive your assets, assume guardianship of your children or pets, and more. For example, if you have a treasured piece of jewelry or a prized model car collection that you wanted your sister to have, your will would provide for this.
General Durable Power of Attorney: A general durable power of attorney appoints someone you trust, such as a family member, to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. This document can be used to allow the person you appoint to make these decisions in the event that you cannot make them on your own. It is not only for use in the event of your incapacitation. For example, if you travel for vacation or are away at college, this person can act on your behalf as your agent.
Living Will and Advance Medical Directive: A living will, or health care directive, lets you set specific medical wishes in a case where you may be alive but unable to speak for yourself. It allows you to specify your preference for any and all pain medications, life support, medical procedures, etc., if you fall terminally ill, into a vegetative state, or into a coma.
While it may be difficult to think about these topics, we cannot predict or control the future. Every family’s legal needs are important, but perhaps the most important step is starting the conversation. Speak with the young adults in your family about preparing their estate planning documents.
If you or any of your loved ones have any questions about the process of preparing or about the documents themselves, please give the attorneys at McChesney & Dale a call at (301) 805-6080.