Our most Basic Estate Plan (age 18 and over) includes legal counseling, and a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, HIPAA Authorization and Last Will and Testament (and, if desired, an optional Living Will). Taken together those two powers of attorney for financial and health care matters can help prevent a costly, public and cumbersome, probate court proceeding called “guardianship.” Both powers of attorney are necessary, as there are two types of guardianships— one for your person (your physical body) and one for your estate (your money and assets).
A Last Will and Testament not only specifies how you want your assets distributed (as well as the proceeds of any death-related lawsuits), but it nominates your choice of persons to be your Executor and the Guardian of your minor children, and it can waive bond for either or both persons. Without having a Last Will in place, politicians have decided where your assets will go under state law; the court will decide who your Executor and/or Guardian will be without your input; and bond will be needed (and paid for from your money).
If you think young adults don’t need these documents “because they don’t really have anything,” that it is incorrect. Consider what their families will have to spend and endure if there is no planning in place. For specific examples, please read the Alex P. Keaton and Fonzie stories in our book, Blooper Episodes in Estate Planning and Elder Law, Lessons from Prime Time TV. All stories in Bloopers were based on true client circumstances we have observed through the years of clients who had no plan, a boilerplate or bad plan, or an outdated plan. Also, please consider attending a free New Client Orientation Meeting to learn more.