Many parents ask the question - "Is it time for my child to do his or her own will?" And, while the answer to that question varies from child to child, and from family to family, the answer might surprise you.
Well, most people don't do a will until they are married and have children. And, the average age for a person to marry in the United States is 26.8 years of age for men and 25 years of age for women.
Yet, there are many many good reasons to do a will or a simple estate plan with a will, trust, and power of attorney well before that point in life.
For starters, if your will distributes assets to your children at age 21, then their wills will control what happens to any assets that they inherit from you. If they are intestate (without a will) then Pennsylvania state law will control. And, that might not be what you or the child would want.
Do you have life insurance? Is your child mentioned as a contingent beneficiary? The the same result would apply. He or she should have a will to distribute this potentially very significant asset back to the right family members, charities, or other beneficiaries.
Finally, helping your child to invest time (even if you're paying for it) in a simple estate plan, or even a will or trust, is an exercise in building good financial habits. A young adult child who has thought about these matters is likely to remember to update this plan and that it was part of how you educated them to be effective in their control and managment of assets and wealth.
There are even more compelling reasons for a child to do a power of attorney and a medical power of attorney, even if they have only reached the age of 18. In fact, if you have a college aged child you'll want to read our article on when you need a child's power of attorney and what happens if you don't.
For more information on enhanced estate planning for your entire family, order our Enhanced Estate Planning work book. It's free for Pennsylvania residents and it is a great learning tool for young adult children who are doing their first will.
Also, for information on our Family and Friends rates and our family will clinics call 610-933-8069 and set an appointment to speak by phone or in person with David M. Frees III.