I turned 30 last year and like most people my age, it still seems like we have a whole lifetime ahead of us. Some of us that have attained graduate degrees are just really beginning our careers or starting families. Some people are still trying to find their way. The thought of retirement seems like an eternity away let alone dying. I have spoken with several friends lately that ask, “Why do I need an estate plan? I’m not going to die for a long time”.
There appears to be a misconception that an estate plan isn’t needed until death. However, as people mature, enter into long term relationships, have children, buy houses and attain wealth, it becomes necessary to create an estate plan. It may be even more critical as many more in this generation tend to be in long term relationships rather than marriages.
What most people fail to realize is that the establishment of an estate plan gives you choices rather than being subject to the implementation of the default law. Even though you have been in a relationship for years and he/she knows you best, they will not be able to make medical decisions on your behalf, if you are unable. If you are cannot manage your financial affairs, they will not have access to your accounts to pay for those joint expenses. You may want your significant other to have it all upon your death, however unless you have created a will or living trust, the law states that your assets will be distributed according to intestacy laws. The law does not recognize non-blood relationships unless a person elects to create his estate plan, putting his intent into a legal binding document.
So perhaps, as this generation adopts a different lifestyle, it is in their best interest to consider creating an estate plan. It is the only way to make your intent legally effective.