I would like to tell you that I am not sure what prompted this blog post, but that would be completely untrue. The truth is that I'm turning 30 next month. It sounds strange, but I am absolutely shocked! Thirty! It seemed so far away. When I look back on the last 5 years, I realize that they were comprised of so many life-changing decisions and events-- marriage and starting a family, to name two big ones!
I'm using myself as an example, but chances are that if you were born between 1981 and 1996 (there is some variation in what, exactly, constitutes a "millennial"), life-changing events have happened or are about to happen to you. Maybe you bought a home, you had your startup go public, or inherited a sum of money from a grandparent. Whatever the situation may be, it is a time of flux, which means it is a good time to think about protecting your assets, your loved ones, and your wishes.
Knowing what makes up an estate plan is a good place to start. Familiarize yourself with the purpose of each document, and it will help you formulate an idea about passing on any accumulated wealth and/or protecting the people you love. For example, a simple will can state how and to whom you'd like your property to be distributed. A trust may help structure future inheritance for your minor children. Correlated powers of attorney and health care directives will allow someone to assist you with financial obligations or health care decisions in the case that you become incapacitated. These documents are useful for anyone, no matter the stage of his or her life.
Even though you may not think of your assets as significant, you don't need to have millions to create a functional plan that avoids probate and honors your wishes. We millennials are in the throes of establishing our careers. While, understandably, we have not accumulated all that we hope to, creating an estate plan is one active step that we can take to set ourselves right for the future.