Does My Adult Child Really Need a Will?

Serving Clients Throughout Woodbridge Virginia

You may have spent part of the pandemic updating your estate plan and getting your financial house in order. However, did you ever stop to think about whether your adult child needs a will?
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Most people believe their adult children do not require a will, until they get married or have a child of their own. However, realistically, if your adult child has any assets in her name, she should have a will.

Forbes’ recent article entitled Does Your Adult Child Need A Will?” says that most of us don’t want to think about a will for our children because it requires us to think about our child’s death.

Most people cannot even think about their own mortality, let alone their child’s death. However, for most young adults, a simple will and updated beneficiaries on retirement accounts and life insurance policies (perhaps through their job) is all that’s required to transfer their property, in case they die unexpectedly.

The child will need to designate individuals to receive their assets on their death (like siblings or other family members), and they must name an executor, in many cases a parent or sibling.

If you have your children sit down and draft a will with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, you should also have them sign a health care proxy and power of attorney. The health care proxy designates a person, usually a family member, to make health care decisions, in the event they cannot make them for themselves. The power of attorney will let a named agent access to the children’s financial assets, in the event they are incapacitated.

It is not uncommon for parents to set up bank accounts for their children, and their grandparents may have also given the children financial assets over the years. Even if your children have not received any financial gifts, they may be working and saving money in their own accounts. These are all situations in which children should have a will.

This will probably be your children’s first experience with estate planning, but it will not be the last. As their assets grow, the planning will become more complex.

Moreover, if your children have families, that will also change the plan. Beginning the estate planning process now also starts their education as to what they should know to properly manage the assets they’ll inherit from you and eventually leave for their own children.

It also introduces your children to your team of advisors so if something happens to you, your children already know where to go for assistance.

Reference: Forbes (Dec. 21, 2020) “Does Your Adult Child Need A Will?”