You’re young, you’re healthy and you don’t have any assets of significant value – so you don’t think that estate planning is important to you.
The only problem is that everybody, regardless of their age, really should look into having the basics. Aside from a last will and testament, even someone young and healthy should have powers of attorney on hand in case there is an emergency.
What are powers of attorney?
In essence, powers of attorney are legal documents that give someone else the authority to act on your behalf. While they can be designed to last for your lifetime, the vast majority of powers of attorney are either limited (designed for one purpose only, like authorizing your mother to sell your home for you when you’re overseas) or “springing” (designed to take effect only when certain conditions are met, like incapacitation).
Everybody should have two basic powers of attorney: One for their financial matters and one for medical decisions – no matter what their age. You have no idea when your life circumstances could abruptly change. For example:
- You could be hit by a car while walking to your favorite coffee shop and left in a coma. Without a medical power of attorney on file, there’s nobody officially in charge of your care. Your loved ones, even your parents, would have to go to court to ask a judge to appoint them to the position. This would be both expensive and traumatic during what is already a difficult time.
- You could fall ill after catching a virus and end up in the hospital for an extended period of time. If you’re too sick to direct your financial affairs remotely, you could emerge from the hospital to find that automatic payments have emptied your bank account and your landlord emptied your apartment and disposed of everything you own.
Adulthood brings a lot of responsibilities – and complications. To avoid unnecessary problems in your own life, it’s wise to get your estate plans in place.