Estate planning is rarely a high priority for young people in Minnesota and around the country, and studies reveal that three in four American millennials have not drafted a last will and testament. This can be a delicate subject even for those who expect to live for several more decades, but financial experts say that there are good reasons for even young adults to put at least a rudimentary estate plan into place.
In addition to providing clear instructions for how an individual's assets should be distributed after they pass away, a last will and testament also names an executor to manage their estates and administer distributions. When no will has been written, the estates of deceased persons are administered by states according to established rules that may not always align with their wishes. Even when estates are simple and assets are few, writing a will can streamline the process and avoid bitter disputes among heirs.
Even those who enjoy robust good health can be left incapacitated by illness or injury. Durable powers of attorney allow young people to name trusted individuals to manage their financial affairs in such situations, and health care directives can help them to ensure that medical decisions are made in accordance with their wishes. However, these legal documents should be revisited regularly to ensure that they still reflect the views of the people who drafted them.
Attorneys with estate planning and probate experience could suggest using trusts to those who would rather keep their affairs private. Trusts give testators more control over how and when their assets will be distributed, and they also allow estates to avoid the public probate process. Trusts may be especially beneficial when heirs have had difficulty managing money in the past or have struggled with mental health issues or substance abuse problems.