Chances are that most people do not start thinking about estate planning until they are in their 40s and 50s. After all, by the age of 50, the average American has acquired or is close to acquiring his or her maximum net wealth and is reaching an age when medical issues are starting to become known. Creating an estate plan, including a will, health care directive, and potentially various trusts, is a necessary step. But what about young people? Do people in their 20s, 30s, or 40s need to think about the future and protecting the wealth they are accumulating? The short answer is yes.
Real Property and Assets
Most young people in their 20s either do not own a house or a condominium. Some may have only just started to pay a mortgage. If you own real property, it is important to designate who will own it should you experience an untimely death. If you are married, all of your property will probably go to your spouse. However, if you are not married, it becomes more complicated. Everything of value, including retirement accounts, bank accounts, savings, automobiles, high-end sports equipment, expensive electronics, stocks and bonds, jewelry, artwork, and business ownership should be documented and included in a will or estate plan.
Will My Loved Ones be Responsible for My Debts?
The average millennials are about $30,000 in debt for their student loans, according to TheCollegeInvestor.com. You may ask who will pay these debts should you die. Federal student loans are cancelled when the debtor dies, making the matter very simple and straightforward. Private student loans, according to ABC News, can be more difficult to dispel, even though Maryland is not a community property state. Lenders and loan collectors may attempt to recover the debt from a spouse or an estate when you die. If your spouse was a co-signer for the debt, he or she will be held liable for paying it. This is true in general, for most all types of debts. However, if your spouse did not accept financial liability by signing a joint loan, he or she will be able to collect all of your property upon death (unless it was not marital property for some reason), and lenders cannot take their cut.
Other Things to Consider
- Who will have access to your social media accounts, and what you want done to them;
- Naming beneficiaries to receive your cherished personal items;
- Life insurance to cover funeral or burial expenses; and
- Your medical wishes in the event that you become incapacitated.
Call Maryland Estate Planning Attorney Tara K. Frame
Estate planning should occur as soon as someone possesses property and other assets. And, of course, almost everything in an estate plan should be modified at least annually, save for certain types of trusts. There is nothing to lose by talking to an estate planning attorney, but there is much to lose for your loved ones and your last wishes if you do not take action to protect your hard-earned assets. Reach out to the Pasadena law offices of Frame & Frame today at 410-255-0373 to speak with an attorney today.