Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends,
The weather was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and the conversation had been informative. While the topic was not anyone’s favorite to engage in, Rich and Alice had just updated their two children, ages 23 and 27, on recent changes they had made to their estate planning documents. While the four were waiting for dessert, Rich asked his children, Chris and Chelsea, if they had done any planning for themselves.
Chris looked up from his phone and gave Chelsea a side glance before asking his parents why in the world they would need estate planning documents. He and his sister are “Millennials” after all – neither is married or has children, one lives at home, the other rents an apartment, and their savings, while growing, do not yet amount to much. Rich and Alice had anticipated the rebuttal and asked their kids an uncomfortable question – if either child were in an accident and became incapacitated, did they know who would be making medical and financial decisions on their behalf, and if the person making those decisions had interests in alignment with that of their own? That got the kids thinking about the subject, which they had never thought of before – and the answer for both was no.
Millennials have many worries on their mind ranging from the climate, the state of world affairs, how to pay off student loans, which concert festival to attend this year… the list goes on. Many of their worries are seemingly out of their control to solve. But one issue they can easily control is who will make their medical decisions and handle their financial affairs should they become incapacitated, and they can outline what those decisions should look like before they are unable to make them autonomously. Two simple documents – an Advance Healthcare Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney – are all that are needed to appoint an agent, or co-agents, and to explain one’s wishes, easing decisions of the appointed agent in what is bound to be a very emotional and difficult time.
We urge parents and grandparents to engage their adult children and grandchildren in a conversation about putting an Advance Healthcare Directive and Durable Power of Attorney in place. Both documents may be updated over the course of one’s lifetime, but the earlier they are adopted, the sooner everyone can have peace of mind.
To discuss these, or other estate planning needs, please contact our office.