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8 estate planning myths every young adult should know

As a young adult, you have a lot of new responsibilities. You might think that you have everything covered, but have you made an estate plan? An estate plan is an important part of being an adult, especially if you have a spouse and children, because the estate plan lets those who are left behind know what to do with your assets.

Myth 1: You are too young to have an estate plan

If you are an adult, you need an estate plan. These plans aren't only for the wealthy. Even if your only asset is you're a vehicle or cash, an estate plan is still a good idea. Estate plans don't include only how to handle your assets, they also include information about what will happen if you become incapacitated.

Myth 2: You can create the plan and forget about

You should revisit your estate plan at least annually once you have it completed. You may have to change the estate plan if you have a new child, get married, get divorced, or have other significant changes in circumstances.

Myth 3: You can forget about digital assets

Digital assets, such as social media accounts, should be included in your plan. This is especially important if your accounts include pictures and other sentimental items that your family members may want access to after you pass away.

Myth 4: Anyone can handle your estate

You should choose the people who are going to handle your estate carefully. Trustees and administrators should be trustworthy and honest. They should know you and what you would want to happen in specific circumstances.

Myth 5: Beneficiaries on financial accounts don't need to change

As your life circumstances change, you might need to update beneficiaries on financial accounts. Check the person listed on payable on death accounts, such as bank accounts. Double check beneficiaries on life insurance policies.

Myth 6: Nothing will happen to you

Once you have children, you need to plan for them. It isn't pleasant to think that something will happen to you, but it is a possibility. You must include guardianship information in your estate plan so your children aren't left hanging in limbo in foster care.

Myth 7: Someone will care for your pets

Beloved pets are often pushed to the wayside when the owner dies. If you don't want your dog, cat or other pet to end up in a shelter, include provisions for them in your estate plan. This can include a pet trust if necessary.

Myth 8: You will stay healthy until you die

Your estate plan should include a health care power of attorney. This person makes decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself. A living will is another tool to help you make your wishes known about life-prolonging care if you can't speak up because you are incapacitated.

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