Some people in Illinois may think that they are too young to need an estate plan or that an estate plan is only about making a will. However, all adults need some kind of estate plan.
For people in college or recent graduates who have no dependents or serious relationships, it is still a good idea to have durable powers of attorney for health care and finances as well as either a will or beneficiary designations for any assets. The first two appoint people to manage the person's medical care and money if the person is incapacitated. At this age, it may be the parents. As an alternative to a will, if the person only has a bank account, these can be titled as transfer on death accounts.
People who get married or who have a serious partner may want to add a life insurance policy and a living will as well as updating all other documents. They may want to update again when they have children and increase the amount of life insurance. A will can also be used to appoint a guardian for the children. Some people may want to consider creating a trust instead of a will so it can bypass probate. The estate plan can also be used to establish a legacy, such as a scholarship.
An attorney can assist a person in creating and updating these documents through the years. This may help ensure that the documents are prepared correctly and that the legal language used does not allow for ambiguities. An attorney may also be able to suggest solutions a person may unaware of. For example, people might not realize that a trust can be a way to control how distributions are made to an irresponsible beneficiary, tying them to certain conditions or making them a trustee's decision.