Does my 18-year-old need a Last Will and Testament?

Six reasons why your now-adult child needs a will

 

Paying for college, moving out, getting a job, and starting plans for the future are just some of the things an 18-year-old usually has on their mind after graduating high school. Hence, writing a last will and testament is probably the last thing they’re thinking about. After all, not many 18-year-olds have much to leave as far as an inheritance, right? Maybe, BUT here are the reasons exactly why a will should definitely be on the to-do list of your graduate—even if everything they own can fit into one suitcase.

 

  1. Medical Power of Attorney:

The day your child turned 18, he or she legally became an adult, and that means they must designate someone to make medical decisions for them if they become unable to do it for themselves. This is even more crucial if your child is going out-of-state for college.

 

  1. HIPPA Release:

Along with having a medical POA, having a HIPPA release is also good, which will allow you access to their medical information in a worst-case scenario.

 

  1. Advanced Healthcare Directive (living will):

If your child is in an accident or something suddenly happens to him or her, knowing specific decisions you’ll have to make on his or her behalf is vital.

 

  1. Organ Donation:

If the above scenario happened, also knowing where he or she stands with organ or tissue donation will take the guesswork out of these kinds of decisions during a crisis

 

  1. Financial Power of Attorney:

Your 18-year-old may not have a lot in terms of money. However, you or another family member may have named your child as a beneficiary in their own wills and estate plans. Without the proper designation in place, the state may be left to decide about your child’s inheritance if something should happen to him or her.

 

  1. Assets:

No one knows your child better than you; however, once he or she becomes an adult, you may not know all the assets your child has or will acquire. Having them keep a running list of growing assets in their will and estate plan will help them now and in the future.

 

 

Additional items to add to the “You’re Now an Adult” conversation

 

  • Life insurance: 

Many people put this off because they’re “young and healthy,” but that is precisely when they should buy life insurance. Their future self will thank you, and don’t forget to tell them to add the details of the policy to their will.

 

  • Bank accounts in their names: 

They may be used to a joint bank account with you, the parent or guardian, but it may be time for them to fly solo. Encouraging them to get their own debit cards and bank accounts will get them one step closer to adult independence.

 

  • Going over your own will with them: 

Remember to give your 18-year-old a copy of your notarized will or at least show them where it is kept in your home. Showing them what you’ve put in your plan can help drive home the point you’re trying to make with them to have the proper documents in place for themselves.

 

Graduating high school and officially becoming an adult is a huge milestone in anybody’s life. Sure, getting ready for college and picking out dorm room decor is much more interesting than a conversation about an estate plan and will. But remember, after the dorm rooms are left behind and become a mere memory, their will and estate planning documents will be what they will carry with them into the future.

 

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