Articles Posted in Young Adults

One common mistake we see in the greater Houston community is that many individuals assume estate planning is only for the elderly. This can, unfortunately, leave many families without a plan when their loved one dies, and it can leave others without the ability to take advantage of important benefits they could receive if they had completed their estate plan earlier. Ultimately, while the decision to begin an estate plan is an incredibly personal one, it is also one that we recommend starting as early as possible for reasons we will describe below.

Benefits of Estate Planning for Young People

First of all, the most obvious reason to begin estate planning as a young adult is that no one can predict the future. While we all hope to have long and healthy lives, there are factors outside of everyone’s control that can bring families into unexpected and stressful scenarios. It is thus always better to have a solid will or trust in place that your family can rely on if you were to unexpectedly pass.

Secondly, if you begin estate planning on the early side, you can receive benefits that those without a plan simply do not have access to. For example, by putting your assets into a trust, you can shield your money and property from creditors if there is ever a judgment against you. You can also shield your assets from public benefits so that you can potentially receive government help even if you think you might not qualify.

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At McCulloch & Miller, we specialize in estate planning for clients of all walks of life – those with families, those without; those with complicated assets, those without; those who are older and approaching the end of their lives, those who are not. More commonly, we are meeting with millennials that are looking to start their end-of-life planning and who want to make sure their loved ones would be protected if anything were to happen to them.

The Ins and Outs of Estate Planning for Millennials

Millennials are in an important position, as many have both young children and aging parents. Thus, they often identify as caretakers in multiple senses, and they might have more individuals to think about in developing their estate plans. Recently, a report published by Trust & Will reveals that more and more millennials are looking for ways to protect their assets in the long term. The report indicates that of the millennials surveyed, 34% were initially motivated to plan their estates because of young children and 11% were motivated because of a recent death in the family. Others cited recent increases in net worth, large purchases, or growing life responsibilities as reasons to get their affairs in order.

Most millennials surveyed opted for a will-based, instead of a trust-based, estate plan. Those with more in assets typically chose trusts over wills, but it’s not just the wealthiest individuals that are making estate plans in general. The report notes that individuals with all ranges of net worth are looking for ways to start their estate planning journey.

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As a younger generation, many individuals assume that millennials do not need an estate plan yet—mainly because they are far from needing to use it. However, this is not always the case. Millennials are creating estate plans at a record rate. They recognize the importance of planning for the future and ensuring their loved ones will be taken care of—regardless of their net worth—and not delaying the process. Viewing the estate planning trends that many millennials are using can be instructive in finding the estate plan that works best for others. Below are some of these trends and how people can utilize them in their estate plans.

What Motivates Millennials to Create Estate Plans?

Everyone has a different motivation for drafting estate plans and planning for their future. According to a recent survey, millennials were most motivated to make a plan because they had a child. Often when someone has a child, they want to ensure they are financially and physically taken care of—this includes leaving them assets in their will and appointing guardians for the kid in case the parents pass away. More so than other generations, millennials are designating non-blood relatives as a guardian.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many individuals to evaluate their future—however, this realization has come in different forms depending on an individual’s age. For the first time ever, young adults are now more likely to have an estate plan than older adults. And many of these young individuals cite the pandemic as the reason they created a Houston estate plan.

In a recent survey, 1 out of 3 people said the pandemic caused them to see the need for an estate plan; however, 30% of these people did not take any action. Below are reasons why the survey respondents said they did not have a will in place—and ultimately why these excuses should not stop an individual from drafting an estate plan.

“I Haven’t Gotten Around to Drafting a Will”

2.27.20It's never too early to start estate planning. If you already have a family, getting your personal affairs in order is a must. The sooner you start planning, the more prepared you will be for life's unexpected twists and turns.

Estate planning is a crucial process for everyone, no matter what assets you have now. If you want your family to be able to deal with your affairs, debts included, drafting an estate plan is critical, says Wealth Advisor’s recent article entitled “Estate planning for those 40 and under.”

If you have young children, or other dependents, planning is vitally important. The less you have, the more important your plan is, so it can provide as long as possible and in the best way for those most important to you. You can’t afford to make a mistake.

11.27.19Estate planning is even more important for individuals and couples without children. Without an estate plan, your assets may go to long-lost relatives you’ve never met. You also need to plan for incapacity, especially if there are no living relatives.

While your legacy may be different if you don’t have children, you still need to have an estate plan.

Motley Fool’s article, “5 Estate-Planning Tips for Child-Free Couples,” suggests that you may want to leave some of your money to friends, family members, charitable organizations, or your college. No matter the beneficiaries you choose, these estate planning tips are vital for childless couples.

12.12.17Sounding more like their great grandparents than their parents, millennials say they’d rather buy real estate than invest in markets. However, they might be heading in a dangerous direction.

When Bankrate asked more than 1,000 Americans where they would prefer to invest money—long-term funds that they don’t need for another decade—the response was surprising. Slightly more than thirty percent said they would invest in real estate.

For young people, this preference is especially true. Among millennials (those ages 23 to 38), 36% responded that real estate is the best long-term investment option. Zero-risk cash investments, such as high-yield savings accounts or CDs, was second with 18% of respondents, and the stock market was third, with 16% of respondents.

8.15.19“Until death do us part” sounds very different when you are in your twenties and getting married for the first time. As a couple travels through a life together, the time comes to create or revise an estate plan.

Granted, the estate planning process isn’t as much fun as planning a wedding but preparing for property distribution and planning for incapacity is a way to protect your spouse from having to deal with most preventable issues during a crisis. It can also prevent any number of unpleasant surprises.

Despite this, 17% of adults don’t think they need a will, believing that estate planning is only for the very wealthy. No matter how few assets it seems someone owns, completing a few documents can make a huge difference in the future.

1.29.19Live long enough, and you learn that life can change in a heartbeat. Young adults don’t always know this, but they need to have an estate plan as much as older people.

Whether you are a Baby Boomer or a Millennial, you need to have an estate plan. With the help of a good estate planning attorney, someone in their 20s and 30s can get their estate plan done easily enough. Even if they think they’re immortal, says Wealth Advisor in, “Estate Planning Isn’t Only for the Old and Wealthy,” young adults need estate plans.

First, people can draft a will to provide directions regarding what happens to their assets, such as who will inherit both financial and personal items. Virtual assets like social media accounts should also be included. You should make a list of usernames and passwords for all your accounts and be sure that a trusted relative or friend has access.

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