You might not think creating an estate plan is necessary unless you're older or have developed a terminal illness. However, an estate plan can benefit people of any age.
It's a good idea to plan for the unexpected, so your assets remain protected and anyone who depends on you will receive the financial assistance necessary to care for themselves after you die.
Estate planning doesn't only involve planning for death. It can also include instructions ranging from how to handle your healthcare decisions if you can no longer speak for yourself to which family member will adopt your dog if a traumatic accident leaves you in a coma.
Below are the most common myths people believe regarding estate planning in their 30s and 40s.
Myth: Creating an Estate Plan Is for the Old and Sick
People in their 30s and 40s often think they're too young to establish an estate plan. The idea that something bad will happen typically doesn't cross their minds.
However, tragedy can strike anyone at any time. You could suffer severe injuries in a car accident and end up in a coma or lose your life. Without legal documents outlining your wishes and how you want your assets distributed, your loved ones and the people who depend on you could face financial hardships.
The reality of the matter is that you're never too young to start planning your estate. If you have children, you should designate a guardian to assume their care if you pass away.
Determine who you want to receive your assets, such as your home, vehicles, and bank accounts, upon your death. You can also create documents indicating who you want to handle important medical decisions if you become incapacitated and can't speak for yourself.
Myth: Estate Planning Is Only Necessary for Wealthy Individuals
Another common myth regarding estate planning is it's only necessary if you're rich and own many assets. However, an estate plan involves more than just transferring money from your bank accounts to your heirs.
People in their 30s and 40s might not have much in the way of assets or wealth yet. Many face mountains of debt from student loans or purchasing their first home. Others struggle with providing for their children and don't have much to leave behind.
Even if you don't own assets, you might have precious family heirlooms you don't want to be forgotten when you die. Your estate plan can include instructions on who these items should go to upon your death, so your family doesn't fight over them. If you have pets, you can also use estate planning to appoint a trusted relative or friend to take care of them if something happens to you.
Myth: Estate Plans Are for Death
You can establish an estate plan to leave your loved ones your property when you die. However, creating a valid estate plan can also be useful for specific events that occur while you're still alive.
Although you might not worry about suffering a debilitating stroke or developing a serious illness, anything can happen in your 30s or 40s. While creating your estate plan, you can create documents that authorize someone you choose to carry out your wishes if you can't make decisions for yourself. For example, if you're in a coma, your appointed medical power of attorney can direct your doctors on how to handle your care based on what you would want.
If you're in your 30s or 40s and haven't created an estate plan yet, you should contact our College Station will lawyers today. It's never too soon to plan for your future. If you're ready to get started, call our office at 979-703-7014 and ask to schedule a consultation with the mention of this article.