Young adults in New Jersey and elsewhere likely feel that their whole lives are ahead of them, so they may not worry about estate planning. In addition, the majority of young adults likely do not have much in the way of assets. While it is often the case that people only think about estate planning when they are starting a family or preparing for retirement, anyone who is a legal adult can benefit from having one.
For example, what if a young, single adult is incapacitated and cannot make his or her own medical decisions? That individual’s parents are not legally allowed to make these decisions on his or her behalf unless they have been given health care power of attorney. In all likelihood, doctors will not even consult with the parents or provide them with information, even if the parents are offering financial support to their adult child. Power of attorney works the same way for finances by designating a trusted person to make financial decisions and access accounts if the young adult is unable to do so.
Without a power of attorney in either situation, parents may have to request guardianship in order to make decisions for an incapacitated adult child. This is done by filing a petition with the court. Some major disadvantages to this is that valuable time may be lost, and the process can be expensive.
Even if a young adult has no other estate planning needs right now, he or she may find some peace of mind by designating powers of attorney. In addition, taking this step can save loved ones from difficulty and heartache down the road if the worst does happen. Anyone in need of powers of attorney documents may find it helpful to seek the assistance of someone familiar with New Jersey estate planning laws.
Source: Green Bay Gazette, Young adults should look at estate planning, Carissa Giebel, Dec. 30, 2013