Why Estate Planning in Your 20s Is a Good Idea
When people are just getting started in life – their first real job, marriage, buying a home – the last thing they typically think about is planning for end of and post-life issues. It may seem unnecessary because circumstances are likely to be different than envisioned 20 years down the road, but part of being an adult is planning for one’s health, financial security, and family. This requires a substantial amount of forethought, and the development of an estate plan. These documents are particularly important if issues of incapacity arise, but they also address financial planning and death concerns. While there are plenty of do-it-yourself forms on the market, these documents may not speak the unique needs of an individual or family, and limit the user to a preselected estate options that ignore other possibilities. An estate planning attorney can craft an estate plan that best reflects an individual’s desires and intents, and is much less likely to fall short when the authority granted in the documents needs to be engaged. An overview of some of the steps a person in his/her 20s can take to secure long term security and stability will follow below.
As technology advances, new categories of assets are created that previous generations never considered. One that is relevant to anyone who uses the internet is online accounts. People have a multitude of accounts today that exist exclusively online, and the question becomes what happens to them upon death or incapacity. Some websites and social media platforms allow users to designate an agent to take over control and rights to the account when the creator dies or becomes incapacitated. In addition, Florida recently passed the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act that regulates disclosure of digital assets to a fiduciary or designated recipient. The purpose of the bill is to preserve the original user’s privacy and regulate access to digital information, just like any other asset.
Health Care Directives
One large concern anyone should have is who will make healthcare decisions in the event of incapacity. Incapacity can occur to anyone at anytime due to illness or an accident; thus, age is not a factor with this issue. In Florida, one way to deal with this matter is to designate a health care surrogate. The surrogate may be appointed to make healthcare decisions, receive health information, or both. This authority is transferred via a written document that remains in effect until revoked by the creator, or the creator’s death. The value of this document lies in its ability to give everyone the choice over who makes these crucial decisions, and possibly avoid family conflict if there is disagreement over medical treatment.
Wills and Designating Beneficiaries
Finally, all good estate plans include a will. Even if a person does not own many assets, this document will take the guesswork out dividing someone’s property after death and make settling the estate an easier process.
In addition to assets a person can distribution via a will, many people own interests in death benefits purchased via contract or obtained as part of employment. Examples of this type of arrangement include life insurance policies, pensions, or annuities. Death benefits will only be paid if the purchaser designates someone. Consequently, it is important to make sure someone is listed as a beneficiary, and that the policy owner updates this information as major life events, such as marriage and children, alter circumstances.
Contact a Florida Estate Planning Attorney
Setting up an estate plan is a significant step that should be completed sooner rather than later. An experienced estate attorney can walk you through the possible options, and craft a plan that is as simple or complex as you and your circumstances require. The Tampa law firm of Bubley & Bubley, P.A. will work with you to create a plan that will remain relevant far into the future. Contact us for a free consultation.