When an Oregon resident passes away, their assets are known as the “estate.” At no point does age alter this fact. Young adults might not think about estate planning, but they should, according to many financial and legal professionals. Even someone with minimal assets may find estate planning steps valuable. The process allows you to establish who will receive your assets and property rather than leaving the matter up to court rulings on intestate laws.

It’s important to understand that estate planning can also involve directives carried out before someone passes away. A young adult with significant assets and limited knowledge or experience may want to hand “power of attorney” over to someone else. A person with power of attorney gains the authority to handle financial transactions for the grantor. Such authority covers accessing bank accounts and more. Therefore, it becomes necessary to select an honest person if deciding to sign power of attorney documents.

A young person may pass away due to a tragic accident or an unexpected medical emergency. What if he or she does not die, but becomes entirely incapacitated? With a health care proxy, one can afford a trusted person with the ability to make all medical decisions.

A living will is another document some consider. A living will does not hand authority to anyone. Instead, the incapacitated person expresses his or her wishes in the document. For example, telling doctors “do not resuscitate” after a heart attack may be found in a living will.

Estate planning might focus on writing a will, but there are other steps someone can take to avoid probate. Naming someone a beneficiary to an account would allow IRAs, stocks, bonds and more to pass without probate.

Young people might not be aware estate planning involves so much. If you are confused, meeting with an attorney could help clarify the many aspects of the process.