How Do I Write a Will if I'm a Young Person?
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How Do I Write a Will if I'm a Young Person?

Do I need a Will if I'm a young person? How should I plan to write a Will if I'm a young person? In this article, we'll go over why young people should create Wills to protect their loved ones and assets. Keep reading to learn more.

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It seems like older generations do a lot of trash-talking about “young people today.” First, we had to hear it from the Baby Boomer generation, but now others are getting into the act. (I’m talking about you, Generation X!) But the reality is that younger generations, including Millennials and Gen Z, are actually way more proactive about writing Wills than their parents and grandparents were at a similar age. Millions of people under age 39 decided to write a Will during the pandemic, as sort of a just-in-case mechanism. This might surprise you since young people are paying higher tuition and way more in rent than their parents ever did. So why are young people writing Wills? They’re more consciously planning for retirement, investing, and creating side hustles to fund their future endeavors. Young people are Very Online and as a result, they are proactive about protecting their digital assets.

Dead Without a Will: DJ AM

DJ AM died of a drug overdose in 2009. DJ AM was Adam Goldstein, and he had been sober for more than a decade when he passed away. In fact, just before he died, Goldstein had recently shot a series for MTV about overcoming drug addiction. Goldstein didn’t have a Will and his entire estate was inherited by his mother, in accordance with state law. Although there’s no reason to assume that he wouldn’t have approved of his mom inheriting his substantial estate, we don’t know that for sure. Since Goldstein was adamant about helping people get clean, if he had a Will, he might have preferred to create a foundation or leave his money to a charitable cause in line with his life experience. But we’ll never know because he died intestate.

Dead Without a Will: All of Steve McNair’s Dirty Laundry Became Public

If you are thinking of writing a Will, you are already ahead of the game. People should plan for their deaths even if they’re young. One of the great quarterbacks of the early aughts, Steve McNair, didn’t have a Will and he wound up dying at just age 36. McNair was murdered by his mistress. He was still married to his wife and had two children from that marriage. His estate was worth around $19 million. Every asset he owned had to go through a long and expensive probate process.

The problems started right away when McNair’s understandably distressed widow hired a lawyer to probate the will and be his Executor. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what she wound up doing caused more problems. The wife omitted McNair’s two children who were born to other women. She, therefore, caused the lawyer to say that only she and the two children were his heirs. In Tennessee, as in most states, illegitimacy doesn’t mean that the law disinherits them. This is not 13th century England. McNair could’ve handled this situation by having a Will that included his four children.

There were other issues with the McNair estate. He had purchased a home for his mother. The problem is, it was only titled in his name. That means that the house remained part of his estate when he died, when it was then transferred to the wife’s name. McNair probably intended for that home to be given to his mother, but without a Will, his wishes were subverted. What happened next? Well, McNair’s wife decided that her mother-in-law should pay $3,000 a month in rent. His mom chose to move out. But to add insult to injury, the wife sued the woman because of property she said was removed from the home. Property that allegedly cost $50,000. Something tells me that if McNair knew all of this went on in full view of the public, he would have written a Will.

How to Plan a Will When You’re Young

If you’re a young person planning to write a Will, FastWill can help you do it in just minutes. The best way to plan is to start simply, by thinking about the property you own and who you want to inherit the property. Some young people think that if they don’t own a home there are no real assets to speak of. But you have to think more expansively than just real estate. Your car has value, as do your bank and retirement accounts. Your cryptocurrency accounts are also assets. Also, consider things you just collect because you love them. This could be an expensive sneaker collection, a collection of autographs, or signed first editions. Whatever they are, consider that they at least have sentimental value to you and you might want to say who gets them. They also probably have monetary value.

State law dictates that if you’re married, your spouse will inherit your estate. Your children might also be entitled to a share, although that will be managed by an adult. If you aren’t married and don’t have a child, you’ll have to pick heirs. As for who will inherit your assets, can be a person, like a family member or friend, or you can give it to an organization, like a charity. 

The second thing you will do is identify the person who you want to serve as Executor. This can be any person who you trust, like a family member, friend, or professional. If you can’t think of anyone, you can ask the court to appoint a professional Executor.

If you are young but have a child, then you need to name a Guardian for the child. Usually the court appoints your child’s other parent as the Guardian and a lot would have to happen for that not to be the case. But you should still express your preference for an alternative person just in case the other parent is no longer around or can’t properly care for the child. 

An advance directive is a formal legal document that is authorized in all 50 states. It only becomes necessary when you are too ill to make decisions for yourself. You can easily change or revoke an advanced directive whenever you want. 

Writing an Advanced Directive

You should also consider making an advanced directive or health care power of attorney. These are documents that make sure doctors and nurses know your wishes in the event you are still alive but can’t make financial or medical decisions for yourself. Having an advanced directive, which is sometimes known as a “Living Will”, is a good idea for anyone, but especially for young people who might be involved in dangerous activities, like extreme sports. You have a right to as many therapies and medical interventions as you want or need. Some people would want to try absolutely every therapy, no matter how dubious, if they were too incapacitated to communicate. Others would absolutely not want certain medical interventions.

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