Young & Single

YOUNG & SINGLE

Planning for the Future

A young and unmarried person with his or her first job is at the beginning stage of financial and estate planning. Anyone over the age of 18 should have certain basic estate planning documents: a will, a power of attorney to manage assets, a medical power of attorney to manage health care, an advance directive to physicians (also known as a living will), and a HIPAA release to authorize disclosure of medical information.

As a young person with a modest-sized estate, you may not believe that you have sufficient assets to warrant estate and financial planning. However, you may be overlooking contract assets (i.e., life insurance, car insurance that has a value at sudden illness or accident) that would require planning. You may also be overlooking the possibility that a sudden illness or accident could require your parents or some other loved one to assume responsibility for your person along with your assets. If you are involved in an accident in a different state or if you have a sudden illness which renders you unconscious and you do not have the appropriate planning documents in place, your parents and/or other loved ones would have to apply to the probate court for the appointment of a guardian over your person and over your estate.

These guardianship proceedings are the most expensive legal work performed by an elder law attorney. Guardianships require that all matters be supervised by the court. In other words, if your guardian wants to move you from a hospital in the Oklahoma where the accident occurred to a hospital in Austin, Texas, they would need to file an application in the court in Oklahoma and an application in the court in Texas to be granted court permission to move you from one location to another. Since these matters are generally charged on an hourly basis, preparation of the documents, the hearing process, and the court costs generally exceed a young person’s asset base, and therefore, the parents and/or other loved ones who assume responsibility end up paying the costs of these legal proceedings.

If you have the basic estate planning documents in place, your parents and/or other loved ones could utilize them to perform all of the same actions but without court supervision and unnecessary costs.

We can help you with your estate planning.

Contact our Austin office today to schedule an appointment to discuss your initial planning needs.

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