Most people recognize the need for advanced planning in their lives, and they have no difficulty looking ahead and setting a course for the future. However, in Western culture we seem to avoid the subject of death and hold it at arm’s length, choosing not to think about it until it is absolutely necessary. This is one of the reasons why so many people put off estate planning as long as they can, but this is a mistake. People should engage in estate planning from early adulthood, not out of any sort of morbidity, but as a mature reaction to the realities that we all face.
Single people and those who are married with children have different circumstances to address, but one aspect of estate planning that is relevant to everyone is that of advance health care directives. Living wills that spell out the types of medical procedures that you would allow and disallow if you were incapacitated are one of these. However, since it can be challenging to address all of the different types of medical situations one may face in a living will, some people execute a health care proxy or power of attorney. These documents name the person that you authorize to make medical decisions for you if you become too ill to make them for yourself.
Young people who have children have an added layer of concerns to address, and one of them is financial. It is important to analyze the needs of your family and be sure to have enough insurance coverage to meet these needs should you pass on unexpectedly or prematurely. Naming a guardian for your children in the event of your death would be another component that young parents would want to include in their estate plan.
The point here is that estate planning is important for young people as well as those who are aging, and it is just a fact of life that responsible people have to address, nothing more and nothing less.