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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Friday, May 28, 2021

When Should I Start With My Estate Plan?

Ideally, you should start with your estate plan as soon as California law allows. In California, a person who is at least 18 years old or is an emancipated minor can write a valid will, trust, and other estate planning documents.

If you are no longer a child and you become severely sick or injured or pass away, your family would have to go to court to get the legal authority to take care of your financial matters, make medical decisions for you, or administer your estate if you do not have an estate plan that covers those situations. Also, these papers can be useful for people who are perfectly healthy. A California estate planning attorney can explain your options and draft your documents.

How a Durable Power of Attorney Can Help a Younger Person

Let’s say that you want to go off on an adventure – a study abroad opportunity in college, a tour in the Peace Corps, backpacking across Europe, or some other once-in-a-lifetime dream. You can designate someone to manage your financial matters while you are away so that you do not lose your car or come home to a destroyed credit score.

Young adults are not impervious to severe illness. The recent pandemic taught us that sobering lesson. In a matter of seconds, you could find yourself in a collision on the highway that leaves you fighting for your life.

We do not plan these events, which is why having a durable power of attorney will let the person you select to step in and act on your behalf. Without the proper documents, your family would have to spend thousands of dollars getting a court order to safeguard your financial future.

Healthcare Proxies Are Not Just for Your Grandparents

Since illness or injury could rob you of your health, temporarily or for a longer time, it is essential to sign a healthcare proxy ahead of time. This paper, also called a medical power of attorney, lets you choose who will make your healthcare decisions if you cannot do so.

Why a Younger Person Needs a Will or Trust

You might not think that you own enough assets yet to need a will or trust, but that assumption is usually mistaken. Someone will have to prepare your final income tax return, pay your final bills, and distribute your things when you pass away. Without a will or trust, you are intestate, and all of your items will get distributed through the laws of intestacy.

Going through probate court is more expensive when the decedent dies intestate. What modest assets you have will get reduced even further by these increased administrative costs. Your legal heirs do not have to give anything to your significant other if you were not married.

If your family does not approve of your lifestyle or your choice of friends, they could bar them from your hospital room or your memorial service. The only way to capture control over these possibilities is by having an estate plan that addresses them.

You might want to talk with a California estate planning attorney about the recommended estate planning documents for your stage of life and circumstances. Get in touch with our office today.


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