Generation Y is now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. population. A generation on the move, millennials are speeding into their prime spending years, poised to reshape the economy as we know it. Having grown accustom to life in a time of constant and rapid change, Millennial expectations and priorities are sharply different from previous generations. In a world that focuses heavily on the present moment, post-death planning gets overlooked and in many cases consciously avoided. Having a will prepared is a painless process that can save your family and friends from being forced to make difficult and often contentious decisions about your property after death, not to mention, allowing you control over the legacy you worked your entire life to build.
Contemplating your own mortality is something that makes most people, not just Millennials, bury their heads in the sand. Some of the reasons and excuses most often cited for not having a will include: “But I don't really have any property…so what’s the point”; “I’m too busy, I’ll take care of it later”; “I don’t want to tell a lawyer all my business”; and honestly, some people avoid creation of a will as a conscious or unconscious defense against admitting their own mortality.
However, Garate Cooper would like for you to shift your thinking on post-death planning. We’d like for you to think about it as an opportunity to enjoy the freedom and peace of mind that you gain from knowing that these decisions have already been made, leaving your family and friends to carry out your legacy in the exactly how you intended.
Consider this situation, you’re 35 years old, surviving spouse of a minor child. With a will, you have the ability to nominate a guardian for your child and their property, which is a much better option than forcing the courts to make a selection (potentially selecting someone whom you would not have given such control) regarding the child’s personal or financial matters. Further, just because you may have little in the way of property now, doesn’t mean that it will be so at the time of your death. What if you are the beneficiary of relative’s sizable estate, or land a high-paying job?
If you die without a will, all property in your probate estate will pass according to the laws of intestacy, a statutory scheme put in place by Texas statute. Let’s say you’re a 28 year old with no spouse and no children, your property would pass to your parents, if they were deceased, to any siblings and their descendants. Don’t like that snobby cousin on your dad’s side? Too bad, if you died under these facts, everything you’ve spent your life building would go, in part, straight to them. Worse still, if you pass with no surviving heirs, your property will “escheat” to the State of Texas.
Creating a will doesn’t have to be a scary process. Want to ensure your mint collection of comics goes to your best friend since kindergarten; you’ll need a will for that. Want to be sure that a portion of your estate is gifted to your favorite charity or preservation organization, put it in your will. Want to preserve your request to have a bagpipe precession at your funeral, will. All kidding aside, having a plan is always better than leaving your legacy to chance and potential conflict with the people you love.
Garate Cooper can provide you with an affordable estate planning package that can take all of this stress away. Unless you have a particularly complicated estate, your planning package can most often be accomplished in one phone conference and one in-office meeting. Don’t put off making these important determinations, get ahead of game and give us a call.
 15 Economic Facts About Millennials, The Council of Economic Advisers , Executive Office of the President of the United States, 2014, https://www.whitehouse.gov/ sites/default/files/docs/millennials_report.pdf.
 Millennials Coming of Age, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials.
 Thomas Shaffer, The “Estate Planning” Counselor and Values Destroyed By Death, 55 IOWA L. REV. 376, 377 (1969).