Does A 25-Year-Old Need a Will?
For most people in their 20’s and 30’s, the aging process and their own mortality are not exactly matters of pressing concern. Perhaps, if they are married or have children, the concept of what will happen when they are gone has at least crossed their mind.
But I Don’t Have That Much to Leave…
If someone hasn’t yet acquired many assets, then why should they bother with a will? Well, regardless of age, the importance of having a will does not directly correlate with how many assets you have. What matters most is whether or not the intestacy statutes (the laws governing what happens with the estate of a person dying without a will) match the person’s wishes. Generally, the intestacy statutes provide that if a person is not yet married, his or her estate passes to his or her parents, or the survivor of them. If he or she is married, his or her estate would pass to his or her surviving spouse. Well, if that’s what he or she already wants, why bother with a will?
Guardianship: What Will Happen to My Children When I am Gone?
For anyone with minor children, a will allows the opportunity to nominate a guardian and conservator who will be responsible for caring for any surviving children and managing any assets they inherit from their deceased parents, respectively. This is a big deal. If the parents have not made it clear who will be caring for any surviving children or who will be managing their money, there could be conflict among different family members seeking this responsibility. This type of conflict could quite easily end up in court. Safe to say, this is probably not something that most of us would ever want to see happen.
Powers of Attorney: Why Planning for Incapacity Matters
As I tell all of my clients: a will is important to say what happens when you are dead, but equally, if not more important is what happens to you when you are incapacitated, but still alive. This is why financial and health care powers of attorney are important for a person of any age. They give authority to someone you trust to make decisions about your care and the management of your assets if you can’t do it yourself, regardless how difficult it is to imagine ever not being young and invincible.