Mark Zuckerberg is probably the most well known of the world’s 29 billionaires under the age of 40. He and his college roommates originally developed and launched a social media company, Facebook, while they were still at Harvard. Facebook took off so quickly that Zuckerberg became a billionaire in 2007 when he was just 23 years old. He is currently worth approximately $13.3 Billion.
While most college students are just hoping to find a job after graduation, more students than ever are using their ingenuity and creativity to begin accumulating assets and a financial portfolio while still in school. It should also be a time to start thinking about making an estate plan.
Why you should establish an estate plan while still in school
Most people do not start thinking about writing a will or making a trust until they start working, get married or have their first child — young people are not accustomed to thinking about their own mortality. Unfortunately, tragedies do happen and there are many good reasons to start estate planning early:
- If you die in New York without a will, the laws of intestacy will determine who will inherit from your estate. New York EPTL §4-1.1 states that if a person dies, was not married and has no children, all of their money and property will go to their parents, if they are living, and if not, to their siblings–this may or may not be what you want
- It is during the college years that many young adults develop strong personal beliefs and may have a strong desire to leave money to a specific charity or worthy cause
- Making an estate plan provides an opportunity to prepare advance directives (a living will and health care proxy) in the event of incapacity due to a devastating accident or illness
- Preparing an estate plan can help you organize what you have and more clearly focus on your life’s goals
Regardless of your age or stage in life it is important to work with an experienced Staten Island estate planning attorney to create the plan that is right for you. It is also important to periodically update your estate plan to account for changes in marital status, birth of children, increase in assets and amendments to tax laws.