Blitheness is the prerogative of the young. Arguably, no generation has better exercised its right to youthful nonchalance than the Millennial one, known for its “Peter Pan” reluctance to embrace the burdens of adulthood.
Then again, maybe that isn’t fair. Millennials might think about growing up in different terms than those who came before them, but they are also coming of age in a different world than the one we grew up in.
And who’s to say they aren’t responsible? The New York Times recently reported that more and more young people — even without a family of their own — are beginning to make estate plans. That’s something those of us who practice estate law have been recommending to young Americans for a long time, but the message has often fallen on deaf ears. It’s nice to see that changing.
The Times report notwithstanding, though, there may still be a pervasive sentiment among Millennials that estate planning is a concern for their far-off futures.
Financial e-magazine The Street recently argued on behalf of estate planning for Millennials, and we might match the points they made to three common myths among the young:
1. Young people don’t own anything of value. That is surely a myth. Most Millennials do indeed have estates of their own. While they might not own homes, their possessions can still add up to a lot, not only in terms of financial worth but also sentimental value. That needs to be accounted for.
2. Estate planning is for rich people. This myth is popular among people of all ages, but it is equally untrue for all of them. Everyone has assets. You don’t have to be wealthy to own things that matter. Moreover, even in the absence of high-dollar assets, you still have a body. Healthcare directives, powers of attorney, and other documents are all essential for making sure that someone will make the right decisions for your health and welfare if you’re ever unable to.
3. There’s still time to do it later. That’s an easy assumption to make, especially while you’re young, but the truth is that none of us have that guarantee. Unexpected accidents, illnesses, and deaths have left many families in terrible binds. Young people can alleviate enormous burdens for their loved ones by putting an effective estate plan in place now.
If you’re a young person (or the parent of one), and you’d like to learn more about estate planning for Millennials, I can help. Give me a call.