But my child is only 20, isn’t that too young to start thinking about a will?

If your son/daughter is under 30 it’s very like that they, like most young people, think wills are for older people, their parents, not them.

It is often only when they buy a property, get married, or have a child that the words ‘will’ and ‘estate planning’ start to emerge and become a priority. They may even be the triggers that force you to suggest to them that they need a will as a part of their estate plan.

However there are plenty of reasons why an estate plan is needed well before these triggers occur, and it’s not necessarily to write a will.

It is important to note that a will is just one part of an estate plan, there are many other considerations. Such as, trusts, enduring power of attorney, healthcare directives, and letters of intent.

Let’s begin with your 20 year old.

Did you know that once your child turns 18, you as their parents no longer have authority to make healthcare or financial decisions for them?

This means they are free to spend what money they have, in any way they choose, and have greater control over their life choices. Which for some parents can be a little scary since we at that age most 20 years olds think they are bullet proof.

It’s not something we want to think about but what would happen if your child is in a position where they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves, and as their parents you are not in a legal position to help? Stuff of our worst nightmares, we know.

This is where an estate plan comes in, and can provide you with peace of mind.

In those first years as a young adult an estate plan at minimum should contain a Healthcare Directive and Power of Attorney.

Put simply a Healthcare Directive specifies what actions should be taken regarding your health if you are no longer able to make these decisions. A Power of Attorney is the name you provide for the person/people who can make decisions on your behalf, both from a financial and a health perspective. Later on, as they reach their 30’s Wills and Trusts are likely to become important considerations.

So rather than waiting for a major trigger to occur, make a point to have a discussion about estate planning with your 20 year old sooner rather than later.

This is one discussion that can help set your child up for life.

So they’re interested but where do they begin?

It is very likely that you won’t have all of the answers for your 20-something year old; which is where Lambert Group Future Planning comes in.

We know how young adults think, and what’s important to them. We won’t suggest including components of an estate plan that are not relevant to them but rather assist them to understand the important triggers that may occur in their life, and help them to build on their estate plan over time.

The first step is for you or your son/daughter to speak to a member of the Lambert team to get the ball rolling.  

Oh, and while we are on the subject, maybe it’s time to review your estate plan.