Millennials – death is not something anyone wishes to think about. Instead, it is usually through certain circumstances that the consequences of our own mortality are thrust upon us, and we realize that we perhaps do not have as much time on this earth as we would have hoped for. Life ends, one way or another, and many of us spend our last years contemplating how we can leave a meaningful and positive impact after our passing.
Too many do not get that luxury. Indeed, old age and disease are not the only things killing Americans. People die everyday from accidents, incidents, catastrophes and tragedies. None of us can tell the future – and none of us know for sure when it ends.
For many, a life ending too soon is not just a cause for much grief – it can also be a cause for weeks or months of probate, or unnecessary and intrusive paperwork. When we die without leaving behind a legal means to deal with our properties and assets, things can get awfully complicated.
This is not just true for homeowners and the wealthy. Even millennials today should consider that they must plan for the future – even if it is an incredibly unpleasant one. Wills, trusts, life insurance – simple and straightforward legal documents can save your family countless hours of additional pain, and give them the opportunity to freely grieve you, and eventually move on, without carrying additional legal and financial burden.
Some applications, like the new app Tomorrow, aim to simplify the process for drafting and creating legal documents and contracts, helping millennials today figure out a simple and legally-binding estate plan, with little help.
It is a promising idea – but there are a few caveats to consider, and specifics to discuss.
Should Millennials Start Planning, Preparing for the Future?
Millennials today are in their 20s and 30s, entering or excelling at the workforce, making a name for themselves and carving the beginnings of a possibly lasting legacy for their existing or future families. So why think about death?
Aside from the unthinkable idea that life might end sooner than expected, it is never wrong to think about estate planning as soon as you have something that may amount to an estate. For college graduates with little or nothing to their name, sitting down with a lawyer and drafting up an estate plan is, frankly, not a beneficial use of your time.
But for people who have just started their families, or are making headway in their career, it is a good idea to consider using some of the tools typically reserved for wealthy Americans to secure a better future for your family, through a living trust, life insurance, and more.
Estate Planning vs. Legacy Planning
Your legacy is not so much a tangible object or a number on a spreadsheet, but rather, the overall value and impact of your life on your family and friends. To many, that can mean more than just leaving behind a home, or meaningful memories. Artists leave behind their work, as do architects, writers, and even scientists and doctors.
For entrepreneurs and administrators rising to the ranks of CEO, their leadership and influence on the creation and/or change of company can leave a lasting legacy, and transform the lives and livelihoods of countless employees.
Your legacy can also simply be what you decide it to be. And in creating and grooming your legacy, it is important to consider the role that your estate plays. Your estate is the combined value of everything under your name after you pass. Estate planning dedicates itself to neatly categorizing and managing/redistributing your estate, through living trusts, wills, life insurance policies, and documents that transfer your financial rights to others in case of irreversible incapacitation (such as a vegetative state).
Legally Binding Documents at Your Fingertips
Apps like Tomorrow will pave the way for a simple and non-intimidating approach to estate planning, which is often something Americans put off both out of a perceived lack of need, and because it can be both expensive and time-consuming to draft a specialized will and/or trust.
However, through mobile applications and other online resources, getting into estate planning and learning more about securing your family’s future has never been easier. These new mobile apps are aiming to create new opportunities for everyday Americans. Providing easier access to legal help will enable them to:
- Tackle their financial future with a much greater understanding of estate planning.
- Utilize specialized tools that will help them discover ways to manage their assets.
- Create a lasting legacy and estate plan.
- Easily acquire or include a life insurance policy.
- Effectively update their information and documentation for major life changes – from getting married or getting a divorce, to expecting a new child, and the buying or selling of assets.
The future is bright for simplified and easily-accessible legal applications that help standardize the process of getting the paperwork you need to be safe and sound. But that does not mean it is always the best option.
A New Era of Legal Technology, Innovation
Future applications and existing DIY legal paperwork resources can help inform Americans on how legal documents are structured, what to keep in mind, and how to use them effectively – but they will not be applicable in every situation.
It is important to keep in mind that people often have differing and unique circumstances, which require a unique approach and a specific set of skills to help with drafting, overviewing and finalizing important documents.
Applications can still be the future for customers seeking to interface with legal professionals, and seek help or advice, as they can streamline the process of creating a will from scratch by calling on the virtual assistance of a real lawyer. But until such apps are commonplace and reliable/secure enough for consumers, it is always much safer and smarter to get in touch with a local legal professional or law firm, and inquire personally for more information and help on creating a viable estate plan for yourself and your family’s future.