Impact – Wealth Management


The Tragic Wake-Up Call

Why Young Adults Need to Prioritize Estate Planning

Losing someone you love is without a doubt, one of the most difficult experiences of life.  Whether it happens suddenly or death was inevitable, there is nothing that makes “goodbye” any easier.  But when death comes for someone young, it is especially devastating.

As a financial advisor, I share a lot of wonderful experiences with my clients: the joy of a new child or grandchild, the excitement of a promotion and the anticipation of retirement.  But I’ve also helped clients through tragedies.

The story I’m going to share with you is forever burned in my memory.  I was a young financial advisor and I remember clearly the vow I made to myself. For as long as I live, I will advocate for every young adult to have an estate plan.

The Unforeseen Loss and Its Devastating Impact

I remember waking up and seeing the scene on the news.  Names weren’t being released pending notification of the family.  I watched the news coverage and said a silent prayer for the family – whoever they were – then I shut off the television and got ready for work.  It would be several days before I discovered the connection between what I’d seen that morning and its relationship to a family I knew.

The accident and the devastating loss shook the family to their core.  They were left in an unimaginable state of grief.  Grief stricken and overwhelmed, they struggled to navigate daily life. Tasks as basic as deciding when to eat or shower became paralyzing. It was during this time that the true extent of the consequences of neglecting estate planning became oh-so-painfully evident.

The Misconception and Its Consequences

When we are young and vibrant, death is the last thing on our minds.  When I was 25 years old, I was future focused!  I was certain that death wouldn’t come for me for another 60 or 70 years!  And even if it did, what did I really need a will for anyway?  It’s not like I had much in the way of “assets”.  Wills were for old people, right?

This misguided perception can have dire consequences for the devastated loved ones we leave behind.

Do you have any money in the bank?  Own a car?  Have debt? If you die, someone has to be legally appointed in order to access your bank accounts, sell your car, etc.

The Legal Battles and Emotional Turmoil

In this particular case, the young adult had no estate documents.  Imagine telling people who barely know what day it is that they are going to have to go to court in order to get things settled.  The family and the fiancé were thrust into a lengthy and emotionally draining legal battle.  The absence of a will forced the court to intervene.

The legal process not only prolonged the family’s pain, but it also strained relationships and intensified their grief.

Lessons Learned and the Urgency of Conversation

I watched that family barely hang on and I vowed to myself that I would always communicate the importance of estate planning REGARDLESS of age.  It is crucial.  It is an act of love.  This family’s gut-wrenching story should compel us all to start the uncomfortable conversations about preparing for the unexpected.

Every adult should have wills, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives.  Don’t know where to start?  There are several online avenues you can take to draft simple estate documents, or better yet, seek the advice of an attorney.

Take the time.  Make the investment.  Get your estate plan started and FINISH it.  It is an invaluable gift to those you leave behind.

Important Disclosures:

Impact Wealth Management LLC is a fee-only Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). We are based in beautiful Sioux Falls, SD and regulated by the State of South Dakota. Throughout this site, we went out of our way to present unbiased data believed to be from reliable and respected sources. However, its accuracy, completeness, and relevance are not guaranteed, and no responsibility is assumed for errors or omissions.

This blog should not be seen as a substitute for legal advice.  Impact Wealth Management does not give legal advice.