by Khadija Dukes
As a fellow millennial, I understand the lack of appeal the words ‘estate planning’ have. You hardly have time to plan your next vacation or what you want to do with your life, let alone all of the things that are supposed to happen after it ends. Yet, as risk-takers and innovators, millennials, more-so than the previous generation of baby boomers, need to have a back-up plan – not only for their loved ones but their legacy as well.
- Millennials Love to Travel
If it was not already painfully obvious by the perfectly curated photos of yogis in scorpion handstands atop the Grand Canyon, or epic pics of adrenaline junkies skydiving off Mount Rushmore, millennials love to travel. And I am not talking about your typical Mom and Pop trips to some relaxing seaside resort where you can go to the spa and play tennis. We love to explore the exotic, and sometimes dangerous areas of the world. Whether it’s backpacking through an African jungle or deep-sea diving in Belize, these fun adventures come with inherent risks that are often idly signed away on a waiver. However, if the mysterious deaths in the Dominican Republic are any indication, anything can happen when travelling. Wouldn’t you like to have the satisfaction of knowing that all of your affairs are in order should anything happen to you? Creating a will can do just that, and any future trips you go on, you will not have to worry about what happens to your home or your family heirlooms should you expire.
- Your Debt May Follow You
Or should I say, your debt may follow your family members. Like many of you, I have student loan debt, and for those of you with more experience adulting, you may also have credit card debt. While some types of debt expire when you do, if you have a family member who was a co-signer on a loan or is listed on a joint bank account, they can become responsible for your unpaid debts. In the event your family is not partially responsible for your debt, a collection agency may still try to collect on your debt. Not having a will in these situations can pose a huge financial burden on your loved ones and place significant stress and anxiety on them as well. Even if you do not care about creating a will for yourself, do it for the ones you love, they’ll be thankful you did.
- You Can Choose Who Cares for Your Kid(s)
While many millennials are waiting to have kids at a later age, 17 million millennials are mothers. Having a will in place ensures that your kid(s) are provided for and cared for in a way that you want them to be cared for. Not only will you be able to choose what you want your kid(s) to have, but you can also provide instructions for who you would like to care for them. Failing to create a will can leave your estate in disarray, thus creating more problems for your family. Start planning your child’s future now and create a will.
- Millennials are Tech Savvy
We live in a digital age where everyone is active on at least one social media platform, especially millennials. We’re not glued to our phones to simply check the time. We’re tweeting, livestreaming, Snapchatting the day away. But what happens when you’re no longer around to manage your social media accounts? For those who are extremely active, have large followings, or are digital media influencers, this question is of paramount importance. Social media accounts contain a plethora of private and personal information, including direct messages. If you’re worried about what will happen to your accounts in the event you expire, create a will establishing a digital executor to manage your accounts. Without such planning, your survivors will be charged with verifying your account in order to gain back control of it. This is often a long and arduous process that can take years. Save your relatives the trouble by planning now.
- You Love Your Pet Like It’s Your Child
Pet owners can be very particular about whose care they place their pets in, which is understandable. It’s a living, breathing creature with its own quirks and personality and for pets that come from shelters, they can often be very sensitive due to past trauma. This can require showing special care and attention to these pets. As such, you would not want your crazy Uncle Drew who can barely take care of a cactus looking after your beloved pet would you? Or, suppose you have no next-of-kin. Would you want your pet to become homeless or end up in a shelter? Not providing for your pets in a will means they will be treated as property and could return to environments that they were previously removed from. One of the best ways to show your pets that you love them is to provide for them in a will as you would your own child.
- You Love to Collect Things
Vintage will always be in, and for those of us with 90’s nostalgia, that old pager or colorful Macbook has special meaning. Or maybe it’s your mom’s old record player and her vast array of vinyl records, or an autographed baseball. These items not only hold monetary value, but they also hold sentimental value. Wouldn’t you want these precious items to have a loving a home with people who will appreciate and take care of them? Creating a will can do just that and ensure your valuables are in safe hands.
- You Own Your Own Business
If Kylie Jenner is any indication, more and more millennials are becoming their own bosses and running their own empires. However, kings and queens do not live forever, and in the event you are not around to run your business, who will be the one to take over your throne? By planning for events such as these, you can ensure that your company continues to run the way you want it run, even after you are gone. Further, if you choose to keep your business in the family, you can specify to whom and when you want certain family members to take over the company.
- You Won’t Live Forever
Although millennials like to live life on the edge and thinking about death is morbid, you still have to prepare for it like any other life event, such as the birth of a baby or buying your first home. We do all of this planning for when a baby comes into the world, so why not do the same for when you leave this world? Yeah I know planning a funeral is not nearly as fun as planning a baby shower, but think of it this way. You get to choose everything you want down to the last detail and no one can refuse any request you put into your will, no matter how ridiculous (unless it’s illegal). So have fun with it!