Most millennials don’t want to think about what happens after they die. Death seems improbable—or even impossible—to those in their 20s and 30s. However, unexpected tragedy can strike at any time. While your family, friends and loved ones are grieving, the last thing they should be worried about is whether you want to be buried or cremated, or how to access your social media accounts to shut them down or create memorandums.
Saying that millennials need an estate plan sounds much more complicated than it is. Really, an estate plan just outlines a course of action for the worst case scenario:
1. Who will inherit which of your belongings? Maybe you don’t think it matters who you leave your beloved guitar to, or the vintage costume jewelry you’ve been collecting since your teenage years. But if something ever happened to you, your family and friends would fight over those things—and no one wants to imagine their family and friends fighting in the wake of tragedy.
2. How will loved ones access your financial and social media accounts? The importance of being able to access your financial accounts is obvious, but being able to login and shut down your social media accounts is also important to securing your legacy. Make sure you keep a list of account logins, and that your loved ones know how to access it.
3. Who is the beneficiary of your 401K or retirement plan? Okay, in your 20s or 30s, maybe you don’t think your retirement account is big enough to necessitate beneficiaries. But, if worse comes to worst, naming a legal beneficiary can prevent a time consuming and costly probate process. Your family and loved ones will thank you…a lot!
4. Do you have a payable-on-death account? Let your bank know who should receive your monetary assets in the case of untimely death. Again, this will keep your account out of probate and spare your loved ones a lot of aggravation.
5. Do you have a plan for what happens if you are incapacitated? Death isn’t the only scenario that requires an estate plan. Incapacitation could leave you unable to make decisions about your health, medical care or assets. In that case, who has power of attorney? Who is your health care proxy? These two estate planning documents are important for people of any age.
Of course, explaining why millennials need an estate plan is just the first step. Actually encouraging them to make an appointment with an estate planning attorney is the next step…and it’s not an easy one. Fortunately, this is where parents or grandparents may be able to help…
Give the Gift of Estate Planning
The 2018 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth & Worth study found that 67% of baby boomers wanted to invest in their children and grandchildren. And boomers are driven mad by younger generations’ lackadaisical approach to estate planning! But the gift of estate planning may not be well received, so consider this advice before you invest in an estate plan for your child or grandchild:
1. Wait until the timing is ripe. A good time is after a death in the family, when mortality feels more “real,” or when your child (or grandchild) has a child of their own.
2. Have a conversation and establish clear boundaries. Make it known that you have no intention of dictating what their estate plan looks like…you just want them to have one. You don’t even need to see it!
Helping your children manage their affairs is a great gift for 2019—or for any time. If you decide to invest in your children in this manner, please contact the estate planning attorneys at Deliberato Law Center.