It does not matter which generation you belong to when it comes to Estate Planning. If you pass away without an Estate Plan, it is likely that the people you love will face many trying days of tough decisions and trying to straighten out your Estate, according to the Chicago Tribune in “Family Finances: Even millennials need an Estate Plan.”
A Will details how you want assets distributed after death and appoints a personal representative to collect and distribute those assets. Without a Will you are dying “intestate” and the State will decide how to distribute your property. However, if you have a Will, the entire process becomes much easier and in accordance with your own desires.
There are two other documents that are even more important than a Will for a single healthy millennial. The first is a Power of Attorney. Through this legal document you appoint the person who is empowered to make decisions about financial matters on your behalf if you cannot. It is for when you are incapacitated, by illness or injury, and also if you are unavailable for other reasons, like if you are travelling.
The second document is called an Advance Medical Directive. This document defines your end-of-life wishes about medical treatment. The person you name will be able to carry out medical decisions on your behalf. If you do not designate a health care agent and fall into a persistent vegetative state, you will probably be kept alive artificially by default. This may not be what you wanted, but if no one has the legal document telling them what you wanted, then this is what happens.
What happens to your digital assets when you die? Facebook now has a default where it memorializes your account, and you can appoint a legacy contact or direct Facebook to delete the account, if that is your preference. Google now lets you choose up to ten trusted contacts who can download data from your Gmail, photos and more, if you become inactive for a certain period of time. Most States have now enacted laws that govern how an Executor can access your digital assets, but you still have to tell the platforms, one at a time, what your wishes are.
Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are another aspect of millennial life that have to be addressed in advance if you do not want them to disappear completely when you die.
Estate Planning documents are governed by State law, so it would be a good idea to meet with an Estate Planning attorney to advise you in creating an Estate Plan that fits your unique circumstances.
Resource: Chicago Tribune (Oct. 9, 2018 “Family Finances: Even millennials need an Estate Plan”