Estate planning for millennials sounds counterintuitive. However, before you jump to that conclusion, consider this: No matter how much money you make in your lifetime, it’s not real wealth if you don’t effectively transfer it to future generations. To put it bluntly, if it’s not multigenerational wealth, it’s not wealth at all.
Unfortunately, estate planning remains the most neglected aspect of personal finance and wealth building, even among successful entrepreneurs and high-income professionals—an increasing number of whom happen to be millennials. This is in part because most people believe that they are neither old enough nor rich enough to make estate planning a priority. Ironically, millennials, who despite conventional wisdom are managing their money just as effectively as Generation X and baby boomers, may have the most to lose by buying into this misassumption.
“Estate planning is somewhat of a misnomer because it does imply that it’s only for the wealthy,” says family law and estate planning attorney Lori Anne Douglass, a founding partner of the New York law firm Douglass, Rademacher & Brown L.L.P. “But quite frankly, anybody who’s going to die, which is everybody, needs to put their affairs in order.”
“If you literally have nothing, and you have no children, then you have nothing to plan for,” she adds. “But if you have family members, and you have any assets at all—tangible personal property, you own a home, you have a retirement plan, you have money in the bank, life insurance—any assets at all, if you don’t have an established plan, it’s going to be a disaster.”
“Whether your estate is worth $100,000 or $100 million,” Douglass asserts, “the planning is critical, not just for wealth building, but to maintain family harmony, to administer the estate effectively and efficiently to save on costs and attorney’s fees.”
Douglass offers these five reasons why estate planning for millennials not only makes sense but needs to be a top priority.
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