When you think of Generation X what comes to mind? Many of us fondly remember things like flannel shirts, grunge music and movies like Reality Bites. Our vision of the generation which followed the Baby Boomers is firmly frozen in time. But Generation X is all grown up now, many with their own kids graduating from high school.
The members of this generation are no longer the angst-ridden youth trying to figure out where they fit in this world. Instead, they are adults with real jobs, real retirement plans, life insurance and health problems. Along with all of these things, they are people who need to do their estate planning. Lawyers are working with more and more members of Generation X, but many still don’t seem to realize that estate planning applies to them.
Maybe they don’t feel they’re old enough, or they believe they don’t have enough assets to need to put together a will or other legal documents. The truth is, though, these assumptions are false.
Preparing for the “Just In Case”
First of all, the best time to work with an estate planning attorney is when you are younger and healthy. By doing so, you will already have the right documents in place should you suddenly become ill or injured. Without a medical power of attorney, for example, the courts will decide who makes your medical decisions for you if you can’t. Or, without a proper will or trust, the courts will also decide who becomes the guardian of your children. This alone should be enough to send Gen-Xers running to their estate planning lawyers!
Just because you don’t have a lot of assets doesn’t mean that you don’t take steps to protect what you have to the best of your ability. Again, should you die without a will in place, the courts will be making all of your decisions for you. You may have always intended for your best friend to have that silver and turquoise necklace you bought together on spring break in 1992, but if you haven’t specified that in a will, then it will probably end up in a relative’s possession.
Planning for Your Financial Future
Finally, an estate planning attorney can help advise you on what steps you should be taking to prepare for retirement and beyond. He or she can help direct you toward the best option for retirement accounts, tell you which type of life insurance policy meets your needs, and ensure your estate owes the least amount of taxes when you do die, therefore leaving more for your family and other heirs.
Steve Greenwood, Esq.