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5 Reasons Why You’re Not too Young to Save a Goldfish

By August 1, 2012No Comments

It’s hard to believe that summer fun is nearly over and soon laser focus will target the school year, getting those year-end business deals done, and dare I say – holiday planning. Over the summer, my newsletter introduced topics on planning and I’ll end the summer with articles on estate planning for the various life stages. Also, joining me as a guest blogger this month will be a well-respected attorney and colleague, so stay tuned.

Now, onto the first life stage where estate planning matters: Young adult working singles. Many people ask, “Why would a young person gainfully employed, but a young single adult nonetheless need estate planning?” The answer is for the same reason older adults need it – to protect themselves and their families, e.g., their parents.

Christopher’s Yarn

After college graduation, Christopher was offered an entry level position at the company for which he worked part-time while in college. His starting salary didn’t approach 6 figures, but was sufficient to afford him a nice apartment. So he moved out of his mom’s home after about 7 months of work and rented a place with a roommate, Alex. Since Chris telecommuted a couple of days a week, he also had a well-equipped home office.

One day, the weather forecast was gloomy, so Chris decided to work from home. He was glad he did because early that afternoon a severe thunderstorm started raging. Chris was number crunching on a report that was due that evening when suddenly his computer froze; the cursor wouldn’t move; control-alt-delete wouldn’t work. Chris bent down and flipped the switch on the power strip and ZAP!

That evening when his boss didn’t get the report, she e-mailed Chris and waited for a response. When there was no word from Chris the next morning and he didn’t show up for work, his boss phoned HR. HR tried phoning him but kept getting his voicemail. Later that afternoon, Alex returned home from spending the night at a friend’s. He unlocked the door and saw Chris sprawled across the floor of his home office.

Chris’ mother was a single parent who worked 2 jobs to help Chris through college. After he moved out, she quit one job and took a long vacation with a friend in Mexico. Alex had her phone number but couldn’t get through. The only other relative Chris mentioned was an older brother who Chris said couldn’t be trusted to watch a goldfish.

Alex called the medics but was stunned. Chris had no healthcare powers of attorney, no property powers of attorney, no life insurance, no will, and an irresponsible brother. He and Alex only met a few months ago, so Alex didn’t know his medical history.

Whether Chris survived or not, I can’t say for sure, but upon his employment for 6 months, I would have given Chris the following 5 tips:

  1. You can authorize a successor agent under a healthcare power of attorney, who can make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
  2. Renter’s insurance is very helpful if you telecommute; perhaps not against lightning strikes, but definitely against thieves.
  3. A property power of attorney can authorize someone other than an irresponsible brother to manage your bank account and bills while you’re hospitalized.
  4. Life insurance will help your mom pay for your services so she won’t have to struggle financially.
  5. A will allows you to ensure that your irresponsible brother doesn’t get the goldfish.

If you think you’re too young for an estate plan, think again before it storms.

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