VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

The importance of estate planning at any age

According to a new survey from, nearly 80 percent of millennials do not have a will. It's also common for younger or childless and unmarried individuals in Florida to procrastinate or not see the importance of making estate plans. Part of the reason for this may be a desire not to face the unpleasant facts of life or make decisions at a time when it seems unnecessary to do so. However, dying intestate, a legal term meaning without a will, results in many distribution decisions being made by the courts.

The basic document that's part of the estate planning process is a will. With this particular document, who gets what is clearly spelled out and an executor is named to handle the transfer or assets. Single, healthy millennials may also benefit from a durable power of attorney to determine who will take care of financial matters should incapacitation become an issue. An advance medical directive spells out end-of-life wishes in regard to such matters as life support and comfort measures. If an individual falls into a persistent vegetative state, the default decision is usually to sustain life artificially.

Another aspect of estate planning that generally applies more to millennials is what will happen to digital assets like social media accounts and online photos after death. Some platforms address this potential problem by memorializing or deleting accounts following a death or allowing account holders to proactively name designated contacts who may access and download their content.

An attorney can provide the assistance necessary for both basic and complicated estate planning. In some cases, non-traditional assets can be covered by an estate plan. For instance, it may be possible to designate a specific individual to handle digital assets while naming other individuals to act as the administrator for other assets and types of property. If multiple assets are involved, an estate lawyer might suggest setting up a trust to minimize tax liabilities.

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