There is a common misconception that only those who are elderly or those who are very wealthy should engage in estate planning, which is why many middle-aged people think they either have time to draft their will or do not even need to create a trust. However, this could not be farther from the truth-every South Carolina resident, including millennials, should have an estate plan in place that directs loved ones on what steps to take in event of a medical emergency or an unexpected step. Having a plan in place saved loved ones from agonizing over making medical decisions that one could have made themselves if they had planned on time.

Whether one is married or single, living with one’s kids or beloved dogs, it is important to have some basic estate planning documents in place to protect one’s assets and belongings. Without them in place, one runs the risk of putting family members in charge of making decisions at a time when their emotions are running high.

One’s last will and testament is the document that outlines how they want their assets distributed upon their death. It also names the executor of the estate and who will take care of the children, if there are any. If a will is not in place, the state takes over handling the estate and it is highly likely that they make decisions based on state law that cause family disputes. Creating a living will is also one option that communicates the type of care one wants if they are in a vegetative state and unable to communicate their pain medication preferences.

A durable power of attorney and health care proxy outlines who can make financial and health related decisions if the person is unable to make them for themselves. Again, naming someone one trusts is important, as these decisions are very important. Speaking to that person so that they not unaware of the responsibility they might need to provide is also integral.

Even though millennials may believe their life is just beginning and planning for the end of it is a dark step they don’t want to take, having an estate plan that takes care of one’s family members can help them enjoy their life even more.