Are you ever too young to write a will? Young people may feel invincible, but accidents and unexpected events can (and do) happen.
Consider, for example, "Glee" actor Cory Monteith's sudden passing at the age of 31, as reported by Reuters. It's a somber reminder that life is unpredictable and you're never too young to write a will.
Here are a few questions for young people to consider when writing a will:
Minimum Age for Wills?
In most states, you must be 18 or older to write a legally valid will, according to USA.gov.
Deciding at what age you should write a will is a personal decision, but there are certain practical considerations that can help you determine when the time is right.
For example, if your family has a history of mental illness, it might be wise to be proactive during your younger years and plan ahead. Remember, you must be mentally competent when writing a will.
A will is also useful if you, like Cory Monteith, became financially independent at a young age.
What Are Your Assets?
When you're young, you may not have many assets to leave behind, but you may have some savings, heirlooms, and a car, among other things.
For young people, covering digital assets may be especially important. Your will can include access to photos, blogs, music, movies, video games, PayPal accounts, and other digital aspects of your life.
Who Are Your Beneficiaries?
When an unmarried person without children dies without writing a will, the deceased's assets will typically go to his or her parents.
If there are other people or groups (charities, for example) you'd like to leave assets to, it's best to plan ahead and include them by writing a will. If you die without a will, they won't be covered by intestacy laws.
Be careful about naming pets in your will, however. Pets are legally incapable of owning property.
How to Get Started?
With these tips in mind, how can a young person get started in writing a will? If you like to learn by example, a good way to begin is by checking out sample templates of basic wills. You may also want to consult an experienced estate planning attorney who's familiar with the laws in your state.
Another option is to sign up for a personal legal plan. Plans offered by LegalStreet, for example, include a lawyer-drafted will and annual updates so you always know you're covered; LegalStreet plans start at less than $13 a month.
Disclosure: LegalStreet and FindLaw.com are owned by the same company.
- Cory Monteith died from mixture of heroin and alcohol: Coroner (CBS News)
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- Google Inactive Account Manager: Control Your Data After You Die (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)