As young adults focus on building a life, such as buying a home or having children, the end of life often does not come into play.

Unfortunately, life comes with unexpected situations. Starting estate planning now helps loved ones avoid extra burdens down the road.

Why have an estate plan?

Younger people often associate estate planning with age and money. After turning 18, the law considers a person an adult. Estate planning ensures adults of any age get to decide the allocation of their assets.

According to a survey by, only 33% of Americans have a living trust or will. Without one, the court decides where savings, property and assets go. Young adults may think they have limited assets, but assets include jewelry, vehicles, family heirlooms and more.

If a person has a child, estate planning becomes even more important. Planning ahead lets the parent choose guardianship and helps avoid costly probate and other hassles.

What should a plan include?

While it may sound complex, an estate plan only requires a few ingredients to cover the bases. While a will remains the plan’s backbone, young adults should also have a living will and life insurance.

A living will, or advanced healthcare directive, lets a person decide who will make medical decisions if a person becomes unable to do so themselves. Obtaining life insurance and designating a beneficiary helps pay off debts without added burden.

Estate plans evolve and require checkups every once in a while. Life-changing events, such as having a child, offer a reminder to ensure everything remains in order.