The generation born between 1980 and 2000 is postponing traditional milestone such as purchasing a home, getting married, and having children. This is in large part due to current economic burdens: pursuit of advance degrees, student loan debt, and a myriad of different life choices. Here are five key reasons for millennials to consider an estate plan now and not wait for traditional milestones:
1) What happens to your property if you die without a will?
In Maine, if you are married but have no children, your surviving spouse will split your estate with your parents if you do not have a Will (this is called intestate succession). If you do have children with your spouse, he or she may receive your entire estate, but if there are children from another relationship, intestate succession laws become more complicated. Your probate estate includes all your worldly assets in your own name. Designating individuals to receive your prize possessions (your pet, that favorite guitar) can assist your family and friends by giving them valuable guidance and avoid family conflict.
2) Protecting and preserving your online accounts
What happens to your best videos on Vimeo? Your Instagram posts or iTunes account? Only those specifically designated on those sites will have access to your social media account without a court order. Alternatively, you may name someone in your Will to have access to all your online accounts after death.
3) Checking your beneficiary designations
Do you have a 401(k) or life insurance at work? An estate planning attorney can help you review options for who receives these accounts after your death or incapacity.
4) Are you involved in a family business?
Many family businesses include millennials who are planning to take over when their parent retires. Having your own attorney can help you to understand your options and plan for an inheritance. It is common for family members to engage their own attorney while navigation a valuable family business transition.
5) Planning for incapacity
An unfortunate reality is the possibility of incapacity through military or other work-related injury, vehicle accident, or substance abuse. You are able to name someone to take care of your financial and health care affairs by executing powers of attorney. You may also designate whom you choose to be guardian of your minor children, usually in your Will.