Why Your 18 Year Old Needs a Will

You may have noticed we are pretty passionate about making sure our clients are properly prepared. We like them to get rid of the worry so they can go out and live life to the fullest without concern for “what if?”

Some money advisors, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Planning News, recommend that 18-year-olds (the magical age that teens are considered legal in mosts states) should consider drafting wills. “Teens? Really?” you are thinking. Yes. And here is why:

  1. It focuses teens on their future and the big financial picture. Instead of being an uncomfortable experience, teens can easily be put in the mindset that this is a healthy step for someone who’s planning a successful financial life as an adult. (Which, by the way, it should be.)
  2. It protects assets and determines their timely distribution. If teens have a trust, money from inheritance or possessions that are valuable, drafting a will makes sure that his or her wishes are respected. If a teen dies in intestacy, depending on the state her or she resides in, it may also mean that the teen’s heirs get less from the estate if it goes to court. It also means that distributions happen in a timelier manner.
  3. Medical Implications. As we wrote in our post “Three Documents You Need When Your Son or Daughter Turns 18,” even though you are Mom or Dad, your child is considered a legal adult and you will no longer have the same rights to access to his or her medical and financial records. For many parents, this may be a worrisome reality. Many kids are very immature or uniformed when it comes to making major medical and financial decisions. They may also lack the discipline necessary for credit cards and spending. Having a will and other related documents may help set some boundaries and limits.

These are just a few reasons why a teen should have a will. While there are online resources and website forms that a teen with a simple set of circumstances can use, sometimes it helps to talk the process out with an estate attorney. Especially since teens will have major life changes throughout their lives (getting married or having their own kids among others.