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Becoming an adult marks the beginning of a new era. Suddenly these individuals are responsible for more than ever before, such as housing costs, vehicle upkeep and remembering to make a doctor’s appointment. However, there is one important thing that typically remains far from these young people’s minds — estate planning.

A will may seem unnecessary for those who are in their 20s, but these documents are useful even for people with no dependents and few valuable assets. Young adults in Tennessee should understand that they can use a will to outline their final wishes, which someone else — an executor — can take action on. Even for those who do not have many assets to their name, they probably do not want items such as motor vehicles, collectibles and items of significant emotional value to end up at the discretion of the court. It is better to determine who gets what by listing these assets out in a will.

Additionally, young people need to consider establishing a living will. Unlike when they were teenagers only a few short years ago, there is no guarantee that their parents will be able to make medical decisions for them if necessary. That means if they get hurt in an accident or otherwise incapacitated, they will have no control over their care. A living will provides a list of what medical treatment a person is comfortable with, and an accompanying health care power of attorney assigns one person the legal right to make decisions on the maker’s behalf.

Young adults in Tennessee should also understand that estate planning is not a once-and-done situation. People move, get married, have children and acquire and sell new assets. These can all affect how an estate plan functions, so it is usually best to conduct thorough review annually and then update as needed.