According to a recent Presidential Report by the Council of Economic Advisers, Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S., representing one-third of the total U.S. population. The significance of Millennials extends beyond their numbers. Millennials stand out because they are the most diverse and educated generation to date. Yet perhaps the most important marker for Millennials is that many of them have come of age during a very difficult time in our economy, as the oldest Millennials were just 27 years old when the recession began in December 2007. Many of them thing similarly to our parents and grand-parents who grew up during the Great Depression.
In our practice, we see many educated young professionals and entrepreneurs who seek to build their careers or businesses and who are deeply involved with family and community. They are technologically savvy and have an amazing array of digital assets. Many of them already have 401(k) plans and life insurance policies. But, surprisingly, many Millennials have not considered getting an estate plan, stating that their highest earning years are still to come or that the extreme sports they are engaged in are completely safe. Ah, the invisibility of youth.
Here are a few guiding considerations that we hope would help:
Get a Health Care Power of Attorney. Although you may not want to even think about the possibility of becoming incapacitated, it is crucial to know who will make medical decisions on your behalf if you can no longer do so. For singles, it is even more important to consider who the health care attorney-in-fact would be.
Plan for your Digital Assets. Make a detailed inventory and name a person in both your Will and Power of Attorney who will have authority to manage all your digital accounts.
Pay attention your to Beneficiary Designations. If you have a retirement plan and other investments, it is important that you revisit who is listed as a beneficiary on each of these accounts.
Consider adequate Life Insurance. Group coverage through the workplace is not enough, since it is generally not portable and may not be enough to sustain a surviving spouse and children. Look at obtaining individual life insurance policies, especially if you are getting married or having a child.
Get a Will. If you have assets, you probably have an idea of where you want them to go in the event of an untimely death. Without a will, intestacy laws could settle your estate in a manner you did not intend.
Consider estate taxes. If you reside in Washington State and your assets are over $2 million, your estate may face a sizable tax bill. It may be a good idea to consider available tax saving options amidst the local tax environment.