Many families assume estate planning is for older people. That’s true, but millennials with dependents may have even more to lose if they die unexpectedly or become incapacitated. In an October GRBJ article, Steve Starnes, CFP® and Stephanie Mushna CFP® paired up with two local estate planning attorneys to describe the risks of dying “intestate” (without a will), and to propose some practical solutions for busy millennials.

The article, “Attorneys stress importance of estate planning,” is an important reminder of what’s at stake for young parents if they’re unable to care for their children. Steve notes, “If you have a will, you can list who should look after your kids, as the guardian. If you don’t, the court will. You can probably make a better decision than the court can, so you might as well do it yourself.”

Stephanie adds advice on how young families can begin building estate assets, even as they’re working hard to cover current costs: “Making the smallest change, especially when you are young, can have a really big impact on the future. You can do automatic savings, if you move over $5 each month over to a savings account you can end up with 30, 40 years of investment.”

Local attorneys Laura Jeltema of Warner Norcross + Judd, and Chris Caldwell of Varnum contribute to the article as well. Jeltema comments on the delays probate can cause, especially if you die intestate. Caldwell emphasizes millennials also should have durable powers of attorney to state their healthcare preferences and authorize someone to manage their affairs should they become incapacitated.

While estate planning isn’t typically front of mind for millennials, it’s essential to minimizing the damage done should the unexpected occur.