There is currently no lack of opinion regarding the millennial generation. As a millennial, it’s not hard to see why. Despite the potentially divided opinions about this particular generation, however, there is one common fact that applies to all generations – “father time is undefeated”. This saying is often used in sports as aging athletes recognize their new role in team sports. However, this phrase can also be applied to many situations, especially when it comes to estate planning for millennials.
The millennial generation is currently between 26 and 41 years old. Millennials often find themselves in the important and demanding position of raising young children while helping aging parents. As such, this position brings with it special estate planning questions that millennials should keep in mind
planning for your children
Guardian — It is extremely important to appoint a guardian for your children in the event of the death of both parents. This determination may be made in a will or other testamentary document. A guardian is someone who takes physical custody of the child and has the authority to make health, educational, and other decisions related to your child. A guardian does not always have to be a traditional family member. For example, an aging grandparent may be able to care for a younger child but may not be the best choice to care for the child when it is a teenager.
529 plans — With school starting up again, now might be a good time to consider contributing to your child’s 529 plan. While it may not be helpful for everyone, a 529 plan is a tax-deferred investment account that allows money to be invested and withdrawn tax-free as long as it is used for qualifying educational expenses. It is important to note that qualifying education expenses are not limited to colleges or universities, as these funds can sometimes be used for elementary and high school expenses.
planning for your parents
Medical and financial decisions — When a parent becomes ill or loses the ability to make their own decisions, someone needs to make medical or financial decisions for them. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the parents have completed both an advance directive and a power of attorney. The Health Care Ordinance authorizes a person (agent) nominated by you to make health decisions on behalf of the principal. The Power of Attorney or POA allows the appointed agent to make financial decisions on behalf of the principal. If any of these documents are not completed, the court may need to be involved.
Planning for your pets
trust — Millennials are increasingly including their furry family members in estate plans. Many people want to make sure their pets are taken care of if they die before their pet. A trust can be formed in Tennessee for the care of an animal. These types of trusts appoint a person (a trustee) to take care of the animal. Under Tennessee law, trusts for the care of an animal end upon the death of the animal (or the last surviving animal, if more than one) and are not enforced for more than ninety years.
A comprehensive estate plan can provide for how you would prefer to live your life if you are unable to make those decisions yourself, how your estate is to be passed on to you after your death, and providing for guardianship and care for your children and pets. Whether you are a millennial or a relative of a millennial, estate planning is extremely relevant to your family. There is no better time than now to create or update your estate plan.