As a Newport Beach will and estate lawyer, I often hear the myth that estate planning is only for rich or older people who have children. Unfortunately, this misconception is why many people without children, or people just starting out without a lot of money, assume incorrectly that estate planning is not necessary. Right now, the most common generation of people who fall prey to that misconception are the millennials.
Millennials, unlike previous generations, are choosing to marry later (if at all) and are having fewer children, so they simply don’t see the need to plan. But, they do need a plan in place. The reasons are exactly the same as their older counterparts in Generation Y and the Baby Boomers. But, there are even a few more urgent reasons for millennials to get their estate planning in order.
Millennials, more so than previous generations, are more likely part of unconventional family situations. Almost all estate/inheritance laws are written for conventional family structures. While these laws are perfectly adequate for older generations, they may overlook the needs of millennials. For example, many millennials have step-parents that played an important part in their lives, but most estate laws default to birth parents, even if they played little or no role in their upbringing. That means when important decisions need to be made (such as decisions about your healthcare if you are in an accident), the court will give preference to the birth parents. If you want someone besides your birth parents speaking for you if you become incapacitated, it is critical to get a medical directive in place so they can do so.
Current estate laws will also often fail those in non-traditional relationships. Millennials are delaying marriage, but that does not mean they are not creating a life with someone. Many unmarried couples buy homes and share expenses. If one of the partner dies, any assets owned by the deceased could go to surviving family members, most likely parents, rather than the person they shared their life with.
Every adult person needs an estate plan. If you are a millennial, you may need one sooner than you think. To get started with your plan, call our office at (949) 260-1400 or visit our website at www.MorganLawGroup.com to set up a free consultation.