As you enter the often-daunting world of adulthood, it can be tempting to sweep under the rug its myriad realities and responsibilities—at least, for the time being. After all, when you’re in your 20s and even 30s, it can be difficult to look further ahead than months, maybe even weeks, at a time. There’s definitely more than enough time to pull up your bootstraps and get your affairs in order—or so, it’s easier to think.

But the fact is, none of us can really say for certain what the future holds. Even with the promises of youth, realistically speaking, you never really know what’s going to happen to you. Although unlikely, there’s always the minuscule chance of something bad happening—or worse—and the fact of the matter is, you don’t want your loved ones literally left holding the bill in that situation. For this reason, estate planning is crucial, and sooner rather than later, at that. 

Here are some steps you can take now.

Invest in insurance.

As you enter adult territory, you will be confronted with the fact that you need to buy insurance, possibly at every turn. The fact is, you’re never too young to get life insurance. Moreover, the younger you are when you buy life insurance, the more money you save. The rationale for this is simple—as a young person, you’re a low-risk and healthy applicant, plus there’s the potential of holding on to your policy for a very long time.

Burial insurance is also another insurance coverage you should look into. As the name suggests, it’s insurance designed to cover the cost of your funeral arrangements. It is, admittedly, a morbid thought (especially when you’re young), but again, you never really know what life has in store for you. A great advantage of burial insurance is that — aside from taking care of your funeral arrangements — your coverage may also account for other financial obligations you leave behind such as loans and medical bills, which could be a godsend for your family. It’s smart to take these into account, along with the final arrangements you want to ensure that your cover is sufficient.

Be mindful of your mortality.

Now, as uncomfortable as it might be to think of an untimely death, this is, by and large, the core of your estate planning efforts. It’s also a must to have advance directives in place. There are actually several kinds that are worth considering, but in a nutshell, these are legal documents that protect you and your estate in case of sudden death or even if you’re left incapacitated for some reason. The benefits of these help ensure that your wishes are honored either way, as well as alleviate the financial weight and the burden of decision-making on your family.

You’ll need to create a will that will stipulate your wishes about how your assets and property will be distributed. It may be a good idea to work with a financial advisor to determine how much your assets and financial investments are worth. You can also determine how much equity you have in your home by subtracting your mortgage balance from its current market value. 

Consider advance medical directives. Unlike a living will, these allow you to give someone you trust the authority to make healthcare decisions for you when you’re unable to. A financial power of attorney works the same way, as well, but in a financial sense.

Once you decide on your preferred life insurance policy, burial policy, and any advance directives, it’s critical to keep both hard and digital copies of both and to give copies to your preferred beneficiary or executor. Since there’s so much paperwork here, limit what you make hard copies of, and combine PDFs into one file that you can also easily share digitally and store safely.

Suffice it to say, estate planning (especially at a young age) is not so much a plan for the worst-case scenario, but more investment toward your future. Taking these measures will only offer you and your family peace of mind, which, in turn, will allow you to live your life to the absolute fullest.

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