Once that first job is obtained and you begin to make your mark on the world, it does not hurt to take estate planning steps into consideration. While this is often the last thing on the minds of young adults, it is important to address, especially if you are considering starting a family. Because of this, I want to outline a few of the things that I believe all up and coming professionals should at the very least consider.
The first two: durable financial power of attorney and an advance health care directive. These facets of estate planning designate agents to make certain financial and health care decisions on your behalf, in the event that you are incapacitated. In both, your agent can be a family member or a close friend. If you do not have these either of these in place, and there is a circumstance where you become incapacitated (and thus unable to make your own decisions) your family will be forced to go to court to obtain a conservatorship, or an agent will be appointed for you by the court. This process is time consuming and often very expensive.
Even for those that have not acquired much yet, having a will is a good thing. A will allows you to choose your beneficiaries and the manner at which they will receive your assets upon your death. You can be very general or incredibly specific regarding the distribution of your assets. In your will, a provision will be included stating who you want to be in charge of distributing your estate.
Once you have drafted and finalized these plans with your estate planning attorney, you should keep the originals in a secure place (such as a safe deposit box), which your family knows about, and always remember to revisit them during major life changes. Although preparing these plans may daunting (especially to the recent graduate just starting his or her career), not having them when they are needed is far worse.
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