If you are like many other young people, you probably have not thought much about what would happen if you died unexpectedly. As a result, you probably have not started drafting any estate planning documents. Although estate planning can involve many other documents, a last will and testament can be a good starting point for young adults.
Make sure your assets go to those closest to you
A legally valid will allows you to determine who should receive your assets after you die. However, even if you are not wealthy, you can probably benefit from creating a will. This may be especially true if you have a significant other you are not married to.
If you die without a will, Minnesota's intestate succession laws will determine who will inherit your assets. Intestate succession laws involve a hierarchy of potential heirs, which include your spouse, children, parents and other blood relatives. However, an unmarried significant other will likely inherit nothing, unless you specify your wishes in a will.
Use your will to help protect your children
You may also benefit from creating a will if you have children. Most likely, if you were to die unexpectedly, your children’s other parent would take care of them. However, a court may have to appoint a different guardian for your children if something were to happen to both you and the other parent or if the other parent became unfit to care for the children. Although the court would prioritize your children’s best interests, you probably understand their best interests more intimately than any judge could.
In your will, you are able to choose a guardian for your minor children. By doing this, you can make sure they are placed in the best possible situation if something were to prevent both parents from caring for them.
A will can help you prepare for the unexpected
Unexpected events happen all the time. While you may not expect to be killed in a car crash, you may also not expect that your estate would receive a large amount of money in a lawsuit against the person who caused the crash. Although both of those events are unlikely, they are possible, and unexpected events, by nature, cannot be predicted.
Creating a legally valid will is one of the few ways you can prepare for the unexpected events that could befall you. It allows you to pass on any assets you have or that your estate may acquire and helps ensure those assets go to the people who matter most to you. It can specify who will care for your children, and it can protect your loved ones in other way too, such as limiting the amount of time your estate spends in probate and minimizing the amount of estate taxes owed.
Estate planning is not something that only old or rich people can benefit from. Almost every adult can benefit from some estate planning documents. As a young person, a last will and testament may be an appropriate place to start your estate plan.