Becoming a parent is often the reason that people create estate plans. Purchasing major assets or getting married are also popular reasons. However, if you are a young professional in the early days of establishing a career, you need an estate plan to protect yourself too.
After all, an estate plan isn’t just about naming a guardian for your children or transferring ownership of your house to someone else. It is also about protecting yourself if you ever experienced some kind of medical emergency.
Planning for a possible incapacitation is why young professionals need an estate plan.
Without a spouse, you may have no one to speak for you
Even if you have a close relationship with your parents, they don’t have the legal right to access your medical records or make decisions about your medical care after you turn 18. Once you are an adult, usually only your spouse has that degree of authority if you are unable to speak for yourself.
However, you can plan ahead and name someone to assume medical authority on your behalf. You could choose a parent, a sibling or anyone else you trust. can draft a medical power of attorney that empowers someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf and HIPAA paperwork that allows them to talk to doctors about your medical records and treatments. In fact, you can even create an advance directive that leaves them with detailed instructions about your medical wishes.
You can plan for your financial security as well
If you spend a few months in a coma because of a car crash, you could lose everything you own while you are in the hospital. Non-payment of rent lately to your eviction, which might mean that your landlord throws all of your physical belongings out while you are still unconscious in the hospital. A financial power of attorney protects you against that situation by giving someone else the right to access your accounts and handle your financial affairs.
Thinking about what would happen if you were unconscious in a hospital might motivate you to create an estate plan even if you don’t have an inheritance to leave behind or children who will require a guardian.