While young adults have long been associated with frivolous spending and a tendency to ignore the state of their general finances, today's generation of 20- and 30-year-olds -- otherwise known as millennials -- are breaking the mold.
Indeed, having come of age during the recession and endured their own struggles managing considerable student loan debt, many millennials seem to grasp the importance of wise spending and careful saving.
As admirable as this is, there is perhaps one area in which millennials -- like most other Americans -- are lacking: estate planning. Indeed, one 2015 survey revealed that an astounding 60-plus percent of people don't have a will.
While it's easy to see why millennials would discount estate planning, believing it's not an option as they're too young, don't have a family and/or don't have major assets, this simply isn't the case.
The reality is that estate planning is not just a viable option, but a necessary tool for people of all ages. This is especially true for those millennials who are rapidly advancing up the career ladder or starting a family.
As to what documents would most benefit millennials, experts indicate that there is no definitive answer given that everyone's circumstances are different. However, they do recommend the following core elements:
- Simple will: Allows an individual to protect their hard-earned assets, meaning it's them -- not the state -- who determines how they should be divided. Furthermore, if they have children, it enables them to name a guardian.
- Health care directive: Allows an individual to set forth their exact wishes concerning medical treatment in the event of their sudden incapacity.
- Power of attorney: Allows an individual to appoint a trusted person to make financial decisions and handle other important matters on their behalf in the event of their sudden incapacity.
Whether you are a young adult who would like to learn more about estate planning or an older individual who would like to revisit their estate plan, consider consulting with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.