Many people assume estate planning is something they should only accomplish later in life. However, once you reach the age of 18, you are considered an adult in the eyes of the law and should begin considering completing some important estate planning documents in the event of an accident or an emergency.
Fratello Law is a community-based New York law firm with experience partnering with clients who are looking for help with the estate planning process. For 18-year-olds looking to get a jump start on estate planning, there are several steps they should keep in mind.
3 Steps to Take For 18-Year-Olds When Estate Planning
It can be difficult to comprehend that an 18-year-old, who was considered a child only a year ago, is now a legal adult. Oftentimes, when people are this young, they feel there is no reason for estate planning, but when a child legally becomes an adult, a parent or other loved one cannot always direct medical care or make legal or financial decisions on their behalf in the event of an accident or condition that may render their loved one incapacitated, without essential legal documents in place. For this reason, it is vital that 18-year-olds and their families take the time to sit down and think about the following steps of the estate planning process:
Designating Power of Attorney
If a person gets into an accident or somehow becomes incapacitated, every adult should decide who they trust to be designated to legally manage their financial and legal affairs. In order to ensure that the person you trust is given this power, you must draft and execute a power of attorney designating the agent you choose to act on your behalf.
Designate a Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy allows a person over the age of 18 to appoint an authorized agent to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so for themselves. If an emergency occurs and there is no designated health care directive in place, parents may have to ask a court to appoint them as their child’s guardian so they can make necessary medical decisions for their child who is now a legal adult.
Write a Simple Will
While most 18-year-olds do not have extensive assets, creating a simple will is an option to determine who will get the possessions they do have and who will oversee tying up their affairs and settling the estate in the event of an untimely passing. Even having a simple will in place may also make the probate process easier for surviving family members in the event that an unthinkable tragedy occurs.
Despite many people assuming that estate planning is something one does towards the end of their life, estate planning at 18 years old or as a young adult offers individuals the comfort of knowing that if a tragedy does occur, their wishes will be honored and respected.
Speak With a New York Estate Planning Attorney Today
Fratello Law is an all-women, community-based New York law firm with experience helping a wide age range of clients throughout every stage of life, who are looking for assistance with the estate planning process for themselves or their 18-year-old child. Regardless of how old an individual is, we recognize the importance of having an individualized estate plan in place, unique to your needs and goals. We are a small firm with a big heart that focuses on building high-quality relationships with our clients to assist them with all of their estate planning needs.