If you’ve just turned 18, you need to start thinking about your estate plan. You might be thinking that an estate plan is something that only the elderly have, but the truth is that any adult should have some of the basic legal documents for their estate plan in place.
At your age, the likelihood of dying may be low, but that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t get hurt or pass away unexpectedly. Your estate plan can help you protect yourself in the case of incapacity and pass on your belongings in the case of death.
What documents do you need in your estate plan at 18?
At this age, it’s a good idea to first look at setting up your health care power of attorney. Setting up your health care power of attorney gives someone you choose the power to make health care decisions for you if you can’t because of incapacitation.
Along with this, you will want to put together a HIPAA release. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, prevents people from getting into your private medical documents. Anyone who is trying to help you will need to have a HIPAA release to be able to see your medical documents. So, even if you don’t have a health care power of attorney, you can sign a HIPAA release that allows your mom or dad, for example, to see your health information in the case of injury.
Finally, a third document to set up is your basic will. Your will is likely to be simple at this age, but you should have one in place that goes over your basic wishes. For example, who would you like to have obtain your estate? Is there a particular way you’d like to be buried if you pass away? These are choices you can make now and update later if you have a change in your opinion.
Setting up your estate plan now could help in the future
These are a few things to consider about estate planning. Even at 18, it’s a good idea to get started on these legal documents to protect yourself.