Wills are not just for the wealthy, the married, and the elderly. They’re also for the debt-ridden student, single people, and those born between 1981 and 1996. In other words, millennials need to prepare a will too.
Married or Unmarried, You Need to Decide Where Your Assets Will Go When You Die
One of the reasons why millennials need to prepare a will is to choose who gets what if you were to suddenly die. If you’re single and die without a will, Florida law essentially makes one for you. Here’s how the plan will look:
- If you have no children or spouse, your parents will inherit everything;
- If you die without any surviving parents, your siblings will inherit everything; and
- If neither your parents, siblings, nor any nieces or nephews survive you, your grandparents will inherit, then aunts and uncles, then cousins.
You get the idea here. With no will, it’s possible that a distant cousin whom you’ve never met could inherit all of your belongings and assets.
It’s also important to note that dating someone and living with them does not entitle them to anything you have. Unless you document your wishes in a will, he or she will receive nothing.
Now, if you’re married, contrary to popular belief, your assets don’t automatically go to your spouse. Your spouse will only inherit your entire estate if:
- You do not have children from another relationship; or
- You have children and they all belong to both you and your spouse (i.e., you don’t have children with other people).
Dying without a will can put quite a burden on your family. During a time of grief, they will be left guessing who will administer your estate and how to give away your assets.
If You Have Children, Choose a Guardian
If you and your spouse/partner were to die before your child(ren) turns 18, who would care for them? With a will, you can appoint a guardian for any minor or disabled child to ensure they are properly taken care of. Without designating a caretaker, your family members would have to go through a guardianship proceeding in court to determine who will be responsible for your child. This can be emotionally taxing on everyone involved, especially your son or daughter.
Pets Need Caretakers Too
Americans spend billions of dollars per year on their pets, so it’s clear that pet care is important. In the event of a tragedy, whether you become incapacitated or pass away, it’s a good idea to select who will be responsible for your pet. You can use your will or a trust to designate a caretaker and leave money for your pet’s expenses. There are also organizations that have programs available for you to leave your pet in their care.
Digital Assets Are Just as Important as Tangible Ones
Social media accounts, investment accounts, photos, patents, digital art, and basically anything else stored digitally is a digital asset. The laws around estate planning for digital assets are growing and trying to keep up with the ever-evolving world of technology. However, at this point, without proper planning, authorizations, and instructions, some digital assets could be lost into the void forever.
At Beller & Bustamante, P.L., our attorneys are on top of the latest legal developments regarding digital assets, particularly for Florida residents. We know how important it is to safeguard these assets and we will work with you to create a plan that protects them.
Plan for the Unexpected
A will is just one of several different documents that make up an estate plan. To fully prepare for the unexpected, it’s typical to have an advanced healthcare directive and a financial power of attorney as part of your estate plan. Whether you’re involved in an accident or suffer from a disease, you want to be prepared for scenarios where you can’t handle your own affairs.
Choosing your own medical care is an incredibly personal decision. If something happens that makes you unable to make those decisions for yourself, having a plan in place can reduce confusion and disagreement between those who have to decide for you.
An advanced medical directive (also referred to as a designation of health care surrogate or health care power of attorney), is a legal document that authorizes someone you trust to have the power to make medical decisions on your behalf. Unless you state otherwise, your health care surrogate only has the authority to act when your doctor determines that you’re incapable of making medical decisions for yourself. Without this document in place, your family may have to make some difficult choices about your care and medical treatment. Yes, including the classic, traumatic decision on whether or not to “pull the plug.” Designating a health care surrogate and providing instructions not only puts you at ease, but takes the burden off of your family as well. This also prevents family disputes because you designate which person or people can make those decisions, which can be particularly important with blended families.
A power of attorney is another type of legal document that authorizes an agent to act on your behalf, typically regarding financial matters. You have complete discretion over how much power to give your agent. Having someone else handle your finances by paying your bills, selling a property, filing taxes, or opening an account, may be necessary at some point in the future.
Keep in mind that a power of attorney doesn’t just apply if you become incapacitated. If you’re the type of person who enjoys traveling or your job requires it, a power of attorney may come in handy if something unexpected happens while you’re away.
Contact Beller & Bustamante, P.L.
There are plenty of reasons why millennials need to prepare a will. Whether you have more debts than assets or more pets than kids, a proper estate plan is necessary. At Beller & Bustamante, P.L., we focus on educating our clients, getting timely results, and achieving your goals. We put our 40 years of combined experience to work for you across multiple practice areas.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you create an estate plan that meets your needs and desires.