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Millennials And Estate Planning

Posted by Aubrey Carew Sizer | Oct 03, 2022

Millennials now make up the most significant portion of the United States population. The group was born between 1980 and 1996 and lived through disasters, including 9/11, a serious recession, and the ongoing pandemic. They are also the largest group starting families while simultaneously acting as caregivers for aging parents. The group is well-known for postponing milestones such as marriage, starting families, and purchasing homes. Yet, perhaps due to the instability and economic disasters they have seen, many are not delaying estate planning like the generations before them. Estate planning for millennials saw an unprecedented uptick in the number of younger people creating estate plans over the past few years. While that is positive news, many Americans still do not have a plan for incapacity or death. For more information about millennials and estate planning, call an experienced lawyer at The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer PLLC at (571) 403-2619.

How Many Millennials Have a Will?

Millennials are proving to be excellent planners. As such, many of them continue to establish plans, including Last Will and Testaments (wills) over the last few years. A significant portion of the group has a will in place, enabling the appointment of guardians for children and pets. They also have plans concerning their wishes around healthcare, finances, and charitable causes. Many people know little about estate planning and think it is only for the wealthy and elderly. However, nearly every adult has an estate and should establish a plan.

The Common Estate Planning Mistake for Millennials

Millennials are tech-savvy, and one typical estate planning mistake is taking a do-it-yourself approach. According to the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, there are many pitfalls to downloading forms online for estate planning. Printing and using template documents will not address crucial specific issues. Solid estate planning involves strategic preparation for each person's unique situation. A seasoned estate planning attorney at The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer PLLC, could tailor the legal documents to the individual's needs.

What are the Four Important Estate Planning Factors?

Estate planning includes homes, properties, vehicles, insurance policies, bank accounts, and personal items. The court will make vital decisions about the estate when there is no estate plan. The four most essential estate planning documents often include:

A Last Will and Testament

Wills are legal documents that lay out the signee's wishes and coordinate the distribution of assets in the case of incapacitation or death. The grantor may appoint an executor to fulfill the desires, including designating guardians for minor children and pets. A will can also provide details, including:

  • Funeral wishes and expense limits
  • Charity contributions
  • Money for outstanding debts
  • Physical possessions

A Trust

A trust ensures beneficiaries can avoid an extensive probate process. It is an arrangement that allows trustees or other third parties to hold assets on behalf of beneficiaries. While the grantor cannot change an irrevocable trust after setting it up, they can change a revocable living trust anytime. Thus, speaking to a legal professional is critical to determine the best option.

Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney (POA) permits a person to make financial decisions should the principal become incapacitated. There is also a healthcare POA to grant authority to another to make healthcare decisions.

A Living Will

A living will is a legal instrument and written statement that provides future medical treatments and interventions if the grantor becomes incapacitated. They cover a range of matters on medical matters, including medications and organ donors. According to Virginia's Health Care Decisions Act, the signee can address topics, including:

  • Healthcare decisions in case of a terminal condition
  • life-prolonging procedures
  • Decisions about medications and surgery
  • Mental health treatments
  • Health facility admission
  • Decisions about limiting the agent's authority
  • Organ, tissue, or body donations

Should Everyone Have an Estate Plan?

Every adult should prepare an estate plan regardless of age or assets. Failing to put a plan in place for settling affairs could have devastating consequences for loved ones. Surviving family members could face long-lasting turmoil and mental and financial damages. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, adults should consider visiting with an attorney to help with estate planning before cognitive impairments or a life-ending injury or illness. Sadly, many do not have a plan, and families struggle to complete documents under challenging conditions. Four significant reasons for an estate plan include:

To Protect Minor Children

Planning an estate will ensure minor children receive the kind of care the grantor would provide if it were not for the untimely death. If a will is not in place with guardians' names, the state will decide who raises them. 

Protecting Beneficiaries

Planning an estate helps protect beneficiaries after the grantor's death. Things to consider when planning the estate include:

  • Real estate
  • Life insurance
  • Pensions and retirement accounts
  • Business assets
  • Intellectual property, including trademarks, patents, and copyrights

To Determine Medical Care

An essential part of estate planning is expressing what the individual would want regarding medical treatment and interventions. The signee can also lay out what they do not wish to happen should they lose the ability to make their own decisions.

To Avoid Family Conflicts

Estate planning helps avoid future family conflict and financial and emotional turmoil. The grantors can express their wishes for assets in the will and establish an independent fiduciary as the executor or trustee. That person would distribute assets following the grantor's wishes.

Call an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Today

Having confidence in knowing you have a plan to carry out your wishes after untimely incapacitation or death is essential. Without solid estate planning, you will have no control over critical medical decisions in the case of a medical crisis. A lack of planning also means loved ones could face costly and complex legal issues and turmoil. An estate planning lawyer can answer questions and help make vital estate planning decisions. Creating a sound estate plan will ensure you protect the people and things most important. For more information about millennials and estate planning, call a knowledgeable estate planning attorney at the Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer PLLC at (571) 403-2619.

About the Author

Aubrey Carew Sizer

Aubrey Carew Sizer is the Principal Attorney of The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer PLLC, a Northern Virginia law firm providing representation for Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning, Long-Term Care Planning, Guardianship and Conservatorship, Special Needs Planning for the Disabled, and Probate, Estate and Trust Administration.

Services

The Law Office of Aubrey Carew Sizer PLLC provides customized and affordable estate planning (including wills, living trusts, powers of attorney, and advance medical directives); elder law services (including long-term care planning, special needs planning for the disabled, and guardianships and conservatorships); probate, estate and trust administration (including advising executors and administrators of estates about post-mortem planning and the local probate process in Virginia), as well as general aging and disability advice in Northern Virginia, including but not limited to Arlington, Alexandria, Ashburn, Bristow, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Gainesville, Fairfax, Falls Church, Haymarket, Herndon, Leesburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, Reston, Springfield, Sterling, and throughout Loudoun, Prince William, and Fairfax counties.

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