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Estate Planning for Millennials

Estate planning sounds so… so formal. 

For Millennials in particular, the need for such a document can seem like a lifetime away. Something their parents might use, but decidedly out of their own comfort zone — kind of like cable television.

Neat for someone else, but not really a millennial’s cup-of-matcha-tea. 

As the oldest among this generation creeps closer to forty though, and their younger counterparts reach their mid-20s, responsibilities are weighing more heavily. And the heaviest of all? A solemn truth that crosses generational boundaries: 

If you die tomorrow, your loved ones will need to be provided for.

That burden is made lighter by Attorney Bruce Warren from Whitehurst, Blackburn & Warren in Thomasville, Georgia. Warren has spent much of his career perfecting the process of estate planning for his clients in the Red Hills Region and beyond. 

If a potential client is unsure whether now is the right time to begin drafting such a document, Warren says he starts the conversation with three simple questions.

  • Do you have children? “When you’re talking about an estate plan,” explained Warren, “you’re talking about an economic plan for your life and your family so that they will be provided for. If you’re starting your family, now is the right time to start thinking about putting a plan together.”

  • Do you have a spouse or partner? If you’re married, Warren says the time is certainly now to establish an estate plan. Even if you haven’t taken the steps to officially get married, but are partners in the eyes of the law, you’d want to make certain your significant other is provided for.

  • Do you own property or have valuable assets? Married and unwed property owners alike should have a plan in place. If you are single and without children, Warren says your parents, followed by your siblings, would likely obtain ownership of your assets in the event of your death. Unless your wishes are expressly laid out though, this can get messy. Putting a plan in place is a kindness to your loved ones. 

If you answered yes to even one of these three questions, creating an estate plan is likely the right step for you.

But before you can truly develop your estate plan, you’ll need to speak with your attorney about creating a last will and testament.

“The will should be your primary document of estate planning,” said Warren. In most cases, Warren says, your will provides the general roadmap for how you will devise your tangible property, or worldly items, and can also outline topics including end-of-life care, funeral arrangements, and even the specific distribution of particular items or heirlooms. 

Think of an estate plan as the final chapter of your story, and the will as its table of contents. Other items that make up the plan, including your investments with brokerage houses and life insurance policies, will feed into and be referenced in your will. Your estate plan may grow to be multi-faceted with multiple characters, but your will ensures you know how your story’s ending will read.   

According to Attorney Joe Cargile, one of Warren’s partners at WBW, perhaps the most notable benefit of establishing an estate plan is the peace of mind it offers. 

“When you sit down with your attorney, it’s good to have everyone on the same page,” said Cargile. “The bank, your insurance company, and any financial advisor you have. The benefit of having an estate plan in addition to these items is to really know that you’ll have one, consistent approach where you can leave your assets behind.” Questions? Contact us at (229) 226-2161.

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