When it comes to millennials, estate planning is almost certainly near the top of the list of topics they rarely, if ever, think about. Around half of all Americans have created an estate plan, but the percent of young adults who have done so is far lower than that. Nevertheless, millennials face a host of estate planning issues that members of older generations don’t, or at least not to the same extent. Today we are going to look at several estate planning issues that millennials need to consider.
Millennials, Student Loans, and Financial Planning
Many millennials have recently graduated from college or been out of school for several years. Almost all are struggling with student loan debt. The growing problem of student loans has garnered a lot of attention in recent years, but the financial burden caused by mounting loan debt is increasing. In some situations, that burden can extend past the student who borrowed the money and even become a problem for the student’s parents or family.
When millennials use private student loans to pay for college, they typically need a cosigner. Should the student die, the cosigner becomes responsible for paying off the debt even if that person never used the loans to attend school.
This is why millennial estate plans typically include life insurance policies. The life insurance is there to pay off the student loan in the event the former student dies prematurely. Should that happen, the cosigners will not be responsible for paying because the life insurance payout will cover the outstanding debt.
Millennials: Living Together, Married, or Single
Millennials are more likely to get married later in life than any generation before them, but that doesn’t mean they’re strangers to romantic relationships. Unmarried millennials who live together need estate plans just as much as older, married couples do. In fact, non-married couples often have a greater need to create an estate plan because the law doesn’t grant them the same rights and privileges as those awarded to married couples.
For millennials who are living with a partner, you need to understand your rights concerning a variety of estate planning issues. For example, who would make decisions for you if you become incapacitated? If you don’t have an estate plan, your partner will not be able to do so. Similarly, if you’re single, what will happen if you are hospitalized and need someone to manage your affairs?
And what about married couples? Have you talked about these estate planning issues? Do you and your partner understand what each of you wants in the event of your incapacitation or death?