young professional woman with laptopOur estate planning attorneys in Corona routinely correct misconceptions about estate plans. For example, many people believe that one must be a senior citizen, wealthy, or have complicated financial circumstances in order to require this service. However, it is never too early to begin estate planning, and most experts agree that young individuals should give significant thought to this task, as anyone without such a plan is at risk.

Estate Planning Simplified

Estate planning essentially comes down to having the proper documents in place and the appropriate person in charge of estate matters should an individual become ill, disabled or pass away. Below are five basic documents for those who are new to estate planning and are wondering where to begin:

Life Insurance and Beneficiaries

Life insurance is typically not something that younger individuals think about, but it is an important part of estate planning. Experts recommend having life insurance in place at an early age. This is because its cost is relatively low for a younger person, but may be very expensive or even financially out of reach later in life. Such insurance is also usually easier to obtain when a person is young and healthy. However, when life insurance is purchased, it is essential to regularly update the beneficiary so that the appropriate person receives the benefits in the event of the insured’s death.

Last Will and Testament

A will is simply a document indicating how a person wishes to distribute his or her assets upon death and it is never too early to have one in place. It should also name an executor, which is simply an individual that a person puts in charge of settling his or her estate. This individual is typically also in charge of the deceased person’s children. If this document is not properly executed or does not exist, the state must step in and distribute the deceased person’s assets, which most people would agree is not an ideal situation.

Health Care Proxy

Although it is not common, there are occasions where even very young people face serious health issues or are involved in accidents that make it impossible for them to communicate their desires. A health care proxy is simply the legal term for an individual who knows a person’s wishes and can speak for him or her in the event of a catastrophic illness or accident.

A Living Will

Similar to a health care proxy, a living will communicates the kind of medical care, resuscitation efforts, life-sustaining measures or drugs a person wishes to receive. However, a living will is a document that outlines such wishes in writing, as opposed to relying solely on verbal communication from the health care proxy.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is a document that names a person who is allowed to make financial decisions for someone else if that individual can no longer manage assets without help. It is important, however, to select this person carefully, as he or she can make legal decisions on the other individual’s behalf.

It is natural for Millennials to feel as if their lives are just beginning. However, no one can predict the future. Proper estate planning allows people to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing their loved ones and assets are protected in the event of a serious illness or death.

If you are a young person trying to be proactive about getting your affairs in order, our estate planning attorneys can answer your questions at info@ocelderlaw.com.