When you are a young adult you may fall into the trap of feeling as though estate planning, incapacity planning, and retirement planning are not relevant to you. People at this age may recognize that someday these matters will become important, but after all, they have their entire lives ahead of them so what’s the hurry?
As understandable as this mentality may be, it is flawed all the same because you really don’t know when your day is going to come and lack of preparation can bring some devastating consequences along with it.
With regard to incapacity planning, you need only think back to the case of Terri Schiavo that played itself out in the public eye several years ago. She was just 26 years old when she suffered full cardiac arrest and subsequently fell into a vegetative state.
She was kept alive for years via the use of feeding tubes, and when her husband finally wanted doctors to remove them, Terri’s parents adamantly opposed his decision. The ensuing acrimonious court battle could have been avoided if Terri Schiavo had executed the appropriate advance health care directives.
Not all young people drag their feet when it comes to estate planning, though. The world was stunned by the untimely death of 27-year-old British singer Amy Winehouse back on July 23rd. The multiple Grammy Award winner was known for a “live in the moment” lifestyle so many would not have guessed that she would make careful advance plans. But in fact, Winehouse did have a solid estate plan in place that left her fortune, estimated to be around $16 million at the time of her death, to her parents, who are divorced, and her brother.
The takeaway is that no one really knows what the future holds. Estate planning is important for people of all ages, and if you do not have a plan in place you are taking an unnecessary risk that could leave your family members in a bad situation should the unexpected take place.