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Estate Planning Essentials for Millennials

If you were to suddenly become incapacitated, do you know who would make medical decisions for you and or manage your financial affairs?  Do you think that person’s decisions would be in accordance with your wishes?  Would he or she pay your bills and take care of your financial affairs?  If you are unsure about the answers to these questions, it is time to begin your estate planning even if you are single or don’t have any children.

Young people, even if they don’t have a substantial amount of wealth, need an estate plan.  At this point, you don’t necessarily require an elaborate plan.  A good place to start is with the execution of these 2 simple documents: your Advanced Directive for Healthcare and your Power of Attorney.

Advanced Directive for Healthcare

An Advanced Directive for Healthcare comprises your health care proxy and your living will.   Your health care proxy enables you to establish who will have the legal authority to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.  Your living will establishes your wishes for medical care if you become terminally ill;  It details your personal wishes about artificially prolonging your life if you develop a terminal condition or are in a vegetative state.

It is important to have these documents because, in most cases, health care providers will consult your next of kin to make decisions on your behalf.  But what if their decisions are not in accordance with your wishes or if your family members disagree?  Having an Advanced Directive for Healthcare ensures that your wishes are legally established and it removes the possibility of your family members having to guess or disagree.

Power of Attorney

Your Power of Attorney allows you to designate someone to take care of your finances on your behalf.  This person will be given the authority to handle all of your financial affairs (including filing your tax return, paying your mortgage and bills, depositing checks) if you become unable to do so yourself.

Just like your Advanced Directive for Healthcare, your Power of Attorney is important in case there is disagreement among your family members about how your finances should be handled.

Getting Started

Executing your Advanced Healthcare Directive and your Power of Attorney is a good start on the road to completing your estate plan.  In addition, make sure the beneficiary information on your bank accounts, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts and insurance policies are up to date.

It is never too early to get started on your estate plan.  Taking these steps now will give you a head start and will inevitably make it easier for your family if something should happen to you.

We can help you get started.  To discuss your specific needs with one of our estate planning attorneys in Pittsburgh, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412.281.8222 or contact us online.