You’re young, healthy, single and you don’t own a lot of stuff, let alone have any investments or real valuables.
So, why do you need powers of attorney for your financial and medical needs? These are documents that let you pre-select who will speak for you and act on your behalf if you’re ever incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. Here’s why they’re something everybody needs:
Youth and health are no guarantee of safety
Life is very uncertain. You could pick up a bacterial infection while swimming that leaves you on a ventilator – or you could be in a car accident tomorrow on the way to work. While those are both unpleasant thoughts, they’re potential realities.
By expressing your wishes now, you can prevent a lot of heartache for your loved ones. By designating someone who is clearly in charge of your medical care, you can also eliminate arguments. This could be particularly important if your parents are divorced or you have a steady partner and you don’t think all your loved ones will agree.
You may have more to protect than you realize
Do you have a collection of houseplants? Do you have a cat or a dog? Do you have an apartment, where you keep your computer, your collection of pop art and all your favorite things?
Even if you’re only temporarily incapacitated, you may want to protect those things – and that means giving someone the legal right to act in your stead. The person with your financial power of attorney can pay your rent and make arrangements for the care of your plants and pets, or even rent a storage unit in your name while you’re in long-term care.
Powers of attorney aren’t the only estate planning documents young people should have, but they can be among the most useful – and critical. If you’ve never considered what estate planning could mean for you, it may be time to start.