While estate planning does not generally rank as a top priority for young adults, people in their twenties and thirties can benefit from taking the time to develop a basic estate plan.  Even if you are just starting out and your assets are minimal, it is critical to take the right steps now to plan for the future. 

An Estate Plan Involves More than Just a Will

When most people think of estate planning the first thing that comes to mind is the last will and testament.  While a will is certainly a critical component of your estate plan, there are many different types of estate planning tools available to help you protect both yourself and your loved ones.  A McKinney estate planning lawyer can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that is tailored to your individual goals and wishes.  Your will and other estate planning documents are meant to work together to give you flexibility needed to adapt to changes that may occur throughout your life. 

Developing a Will

Regardless of whether you are single or married, have children or live alone, everyone should have a will.   A will is legal document that is meant to express your wishes after your death.  Most wills include many different provisions, from setting forth how you want your property and assets to be distributed when you die, to funeral and burial arrangements, to appointing a guardian for your minor children.  If you do not execute a will, then the state will make these decisions for you.  This means that your assets will be distributed according to state law which may not be what you would choose.  Additionally, if you have minor children and do not have a will in place addressing custody, you will have no say as to who will be responsible for taking care of your children in the event of your untimely death. 

It is also important to recognize that without a will, court intervention will generally be necessary to administer your estate.  Having to go to court to sort out your estate will not only put undue stress on your family during a very difficult time, it may also cost your family additional money in legal fees, court costs and taxes.

Health Care Directives and Medical Powers of Attorney

Even though you may be healthy today, you never know when tragedy can strike leaving you unable to communicate your wishes for your medical treatment.  A health care directive or advance directive allows you to convey your choices about end-of-life care to your family, friends and health care professionals.  Because the people who care most about you will often have differing opinions as to what you would want, your attorney can work with you to develop the documents needed to avoid future conflicts and uncertainty.   Your attorney can also help you execute a Medical Power of Attorney which will allow you to designate a person to serve as your authorized agent to make medical decisions for you when you are incapacitated and unable to make treatment decisions on your own.

Durable Powers of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to appoint a family member, friend, or other trusted person to act as your agent authorized to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf.  Should you become incapacitated, the durable power of attorney allows your agent to step into your shoes to pay your bills, deposit checks and handle other important financial affairs for you.

A McKinney Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Plan for the Future

While the documents discussed above are critical components of a proper estate plan, there are many other tools and techniques that you may want to incorporate into your own estate plan.  An experienced estate planning attorney at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC can help you develop a comprehensive plan that meets your individual needs and objectives. Request an appointment online or call us today at (214) 726-1450 to schedule a free consultation.