We often make the mistake of thinking that estate planning is for someone else. Someone with more money, someone older, someone with more children, or someone with a more complicated family situation.
The truth is that estate planning is for everyone, and all Texas residents should take the time to consider what they want to have happen to their belongings and other assets when they pass away. Young people in particular often believe that estate planning is not for them, forgetting that they should plan for their pets, their retirement accounts, their cars, homes, and collectible items, even if this things hold little monetary value.
Another important element to estate planning for young people is healthcare planning. No one wants to think about what will happen after a car accident or other incident leaves them incapacitated, but for unmarried young adults, this is a crucial matter to consider. Without designating a friend, parent, or signficant other to make healthcare decisions, no one will have access to medical records or be able to discuss the next steps with doctors.
For these and other sensitive issues, it is important to understand the exact legal implications of filing out a particular form or completing certain documents. For example, HIPPA forms allow access to medical records, but do not provide for someone to make decisions in the event that the patient is unable to make them. As such, it is important to also designate someone as a healthcare proxy, which requires a different set of paperwork and different formalities.
Source:ABC News, “Even young adults should start estate planning,” Sheyna Steiner, May 6, 2013.