Those Under 40 Need to Have an Estate Plan Also
If you have a financial plan, you also need an estate plan. While those under age 40 usually think that they only need a financial plan, the reality is that people do die early. All of the financial planning in the world will be worthless if a well-crafted estate plan is not in place.
As noted in the CBS Boston article, titled "The Boomers' Kids: Estate Planning," if you die without a will, your state laws will provide one for you—and it won't be what you want. The state will dictate the order in which your assets will be distributed. Along the same lines, if you are married with young children and both parents die, then your failure to appoint guardians means the court system will decide this for you.
Your estate plan doesn't need to be fancy, expensive, or complicated. You begin with a will through which you designate an executor/executrix to carry out your wishes and distribute your assets. Again, if you have minor children, you can name a guardian for them. However, appointing a guardian can be done less formally in some states.
Speak with the people you are considering to raise your children. Ask them if they are comfortable with that responsibility. Make certain you understand their values and their patience level.
A durable power of attorney is also needed while you're still alive. This document lets you appoint someone to act on your behalf legally and financially if you're not able to do so.
You will want to have a health care proxy prepared so that if you are unable to make medical decisions, someone you trust will be permitted to do this on your behalf. Make sure that the person you select has a clear understanding of your wishes concerning the use of life support, dying and death. If you have strong religious beliefs or philosophical convictions about end of life, have that conversation now to ensure the person will know what it is that you would like to happen.
Life does not always go as planned, but with advance planning, you can help make things easier for those who love you.
Reference: CBS Boston (June 3, 2016) "The Boomers' Kids: Estate Planning"