December 4, 2014
As a young estate planner I am often asked by other young professionals what they need to do with regard to their estate plans.
Ha. Just joking. NO ONE under the age of 30 asks me about their estate plans. But they should. Portland is the place where young people go to retire. Estate planning is not just for the old and wealthy. Think of it in the same category as contributing to your retirement, saving for a house, or taking care of your health. Since most young people have relatively few assets, estate planning is usually pretty easy and affordable.
While most estate plans we do are on a flat fee basis, in the case of younger adults it sometimes makes sense to work on an hourly fee to help you know what you need now and what you need to do. Whether you need to get a will or just make a few tweaks to your beneficiary accounts, an attorney can quickly help you figure out what is needed.
Check yourself to see if you are suffering from any of the following delusions:
1. “I don’t talk to my family anymore, so they won’t get my stuff if I die.” Single clients with no children are surprised to discover that their assets will transfer to their parents when they die–whether you get along with them or not. A validly executed will solves this problem and ensures that your assets will go where you direct after you die. It might also be worth checking to make sure you won’t have probate. Yes, even 22 year olds have probate.
2. “I’m basically immortal.” Dying is something you plan on doing much, much later and it’s not on your agenda at the moment. That’s always the hope, and statistically speaking, the likelihood. But if it takes 10 minutes to name a beneficiary on your bank account, why not do it?
3. “Dude, I’m like dead broke.” You probably have more of value than you think. Often these pieces are sentimental, or useful so you don’t think of them as an asset (like you might your grandmother’s 18th century armoire). That sexy bike you use to get to work? Your $3,000 macbook pro (*ahem*)? Your photography collection? Your car? Your retirement? I bet you have more than you think you have.
4. “Wills? Like for old people?” Let us not live up to our millenial stereotypes. Buy life insurance. Write a will. Open an investment account. You’re not 19 anymore, so get your shit together.