Estate Planning Tips for Young Adults

When a North Carolina resident turns eighteen years old, they are considered a legal adult that is responsible for making their own decisions, such as making healthcare and financial choices. Many young adults and their parents make the false assumption that if an individual over eighteen becomes incompetent or incapacitated, then the parent automatically has the right to make decisions for the child. However, without having the correct documentation in place, parents with young adults that experience a situation in which their child is unable to make their own decisions would be required to petition the court for legal guardianship in order to make financial and healthcare decisions on behalf of their child. In the middle of an already stressful and upsetting situation, the parent would have to go through a court proceeding, spending money and time away from their child, to complete their legal guardianship. In order to avoid this overwhelming situation, young adults should consider having the following documents in place:

  1. Health Care Power of Attorney: This will allow the person designated as the health care agent to receive medical information from attending physicians and grant them the authority to make medical decisions on the young adult’s behalf if the individual is unable to make his/her own decisions.
  2. Living Will (if desired): This states the individual’s wish that in persistent unresponsive state situations they wish to undergo a natural death instead of being sustained by artificial life support.
  3. Financial Power of Attorney: This will allow the person designated as the financial authority to manage the young adult’s finances if they are unfit to manage their own financial decisions.
  4. Last Will & Testament: This document will direct the distribution of personal property and other assets after an individual’s passing.

The main goal of estate planning is to prepare for unexpected life events and to ease the burden on loved ones during these stressful events. Proactive estate planning can help young adults and their loved ones gain confidence in tackling unpredictable life circumstances. Take charge of your future, ask questions, and plan ahead for the twists and turns life can throw your way.