Why it's never too soon to explore estate planning options

It's not unusual for younger, single, or unmarried individuals in Texas to not fully understand the importance of being proactive with estate planning. In fact, more than 75 percent of millennials say they do not have a will, according to results from one survey on the subject. Some people find the topic too unpleasant to think about while others fail to see the importance of planning ahead.

Regardless of the reasons why a person may avoid estate planning, not taking this step can complicate matters for loved ones left behind. Without a will, the state determines how funds and property will be distributed (unless certain accounts designate a beneficiary or are held jointly). The basic estate planning document is a will, which spells out who gets what and names an executor to oversee this process.

Single, healthy millennials are often advised to consider adding two more documents to their estate plans. The first is a durable power of attorney. This document names a person to handle financial issues should the estate owner be unavailable for some reason. With an advance medical directive, decisions are made about such things as life support and comfort measures in regard to health-related matters.

Another issue to consider, especially for millennials, is digital assets like social media content and posted or stored images. Some platforms automatically memorialize accounts unless directed to delete an account, and others have policies in place that allow designated contacts to be able to access and remove content.

An attorney can tailor estate planning recommendations to the specific needs of a client. For instance, a millennial may wish to designate someone to specifically take care of digital assets while naming other trusted individuals to make health decisions and manage financial assets. For a client with significant assets, a lawyer may suggest setting up a trust to minimize tax liabilities.

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