Why everyone needs a will (and more)

You’re a young millennial, still footloose and fancy-free. No spouse, no dependents. It’s quite likely that estate planning is the furthest thing from your mind. You have years to worry about things like that once you actually acquire some worldly assets.

Here’s why that’s a bad position to take regarding estate planning. All adults at minimum need to draft a will, appoint a medical power of attorney (sometimes called a health care proxy) and sign a living will.

Anyone 18 or older likely has more than they realize in assets. Most adults at least own a car and have a bank account. Should you face an untimely death, who would you like to inherit your car and your cash? The person you prefer to be your beneficiary may not be the one who would legally be in line to inherit your property if you died intestate (with no valid will).

Also, suppose you get into a bad accident and are in a coma. Who will make your medical decisions when you no longer can? Your parents might be too devastated to think clearly. You might have someone else entirely in mind whom you would prefer to have at the helm of your health care decisions. Appointing a health care power of attorney seals the deal.

Finally, in the same scenario, what type of resuscitative and life-sustaining measures would you want taken as you linger for months (or years) in a coma? Would you want full CPR if you go into cardiac arrest, intubation and life on a ventilator being fed through a tube? Many people don’t, and choose to state so clearly in their living wills.

If you are ready to confront the prospect of your own mortality, an estate planning attorney can help you find peace of mind knowing that these documents are signed and accessible in an emergency.