Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
Serving the legal needs of corporations, individuals and
families of Suffolk County since 1972

Why everyone can benefit from an estate plan

Being too young or being single and childless are some of the common excuses people in New York often use to justify not making estate planning a priority. According to one survey, the majority of millennials don't have a will. While some people may not want to think about what will happen after their death, procrastinating can have potentially serious consequences. For instance, if an individual dies without a will, which is referred to in legal terms as intestate, the state will determine how assets and property are divided. Without a medical directive in place, the default decision is usually to prolong life artificially.

With wills, decisions about how assets are divided can be made proactively, and an executor can be named to ensure that everything is distributed as specified. Single, healthy millennials may be advised to also consider a durable power of attorney, a document that states who is authorized to make financial decisions in the event that an individual is unable to do so. With an advance medical directive, decisions concerning life support and comfort measures can be made ahead of time, or a specific individual can be named to make such decisions.

It's also not unusual for younger adults to have concerns about what may happen with digital assets such as social media content and photographs stored online after their passing. Some platforms allow users to create legacy contacts to make such decisions while others allow users to name trusted contacts to download data if accounts go inactive. Many states have enacted or introduced legislation to address how digital assets can be handled although such matters can also be addressed with a customized estate plan.

A lawyer may help tailor estate plans to the specific needs of clients. This might include naming separate trusted friends or family members to oversee the distribution of personal property and naming a financial advisor or other knowledgeable party to deal with stocks, bonds, real estate holdings and similar assets. If significant assets are involved, an attorney may recommend setting up a trust as a wealth protection method to minimize tax burdens.

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