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Why do I need an estate plan if I’m not rich?

Sep 6, 2018 | Estate Planning

Many of the discussions that revolve around estate planning involve preserving wealth or protecting complex assets from probate. These topics are important, but they may also make some feel as if this process does not apply to them. This is untrue as virtually everyone in Florida can benefit from creating an estate plan. 

Only 22 percent of millennials have a will, and many give the same reasons as to why. If they are not married or do not have children, why bother putting the time and effort into creating an estate plan? Although it may be true that this generation is putting off these types of milestones in life, they still have family who would be left to deal with their assets should the unexpected happen. 

A will details how an individual would like his or her assets to be distributed. Without a will, an estate is considered intestate and will be handled according to state law. This means the government decides, according to a statutory schedule, which surviving family members get what. Joint bank accounts and accounts with beneficiaries might be the exception, but this still does not account for the significant amount of property that many people amass during their young adulthood. 

What if a person does not die, but is otherwise seriously injured or incapacitated? There is no guarantee that a close family member will be allowed to make medical decisions on the incapacitated individual’s behalf and even if allowed to do so, the family member might make decisions that the patient would not approve of. An advanced medical directive coupled with a medical power of attorney gives a designated person the legal right to make medical decisions for another person, as well as information about which decisions are acceptable. 

For young adults, thinking about death often feels futile and pointless. The reality is that tragedy can strike at any time, and being prepared is a good idea. By combining a will, medical directive, power of attorney and other essential documents, young people in Florida can craft an estate plan that best represents their wishes and values.