Generation Z is the term used to describe the most recent crop of young adults. They were born in 1995 or later. The oldest Gen Z-ers are out of college and are entering the working world as full time employees, while many in this age group are still in high school or younger. In comparison, the Millennial Generation is composed of people born between 1981 and 1995.
Despite the young age for this post-millennial generation, it is not too early for them to begin thinking about their future, including their estate planning needs. An easy way for Generation Z to begin considering these plans is by creating powers of attorney for themselves.
A financial durable power of attorney is the document that allows you, as a principal to name an agent to make decisions regarding your financial affairs. This can include the right to access bank and retirement accounts, as well as the right to buy or sell real estate on your behalf.
Many financial powers of attorney are designed so that the agent will have permission to act only if you become mentally or physically incapable of acting on your own. However, financial powers of attorney are also incredibly useful tools in many other situations.
For example, it’s common to create a power of attorney that would authorize an agent to make financial decisions only for a limited duration. Colleges and universities often require students who study abroad sign a power of attorney in favor of a parent for their semester or year overseas. This gives the institution permission to talk with someone in a closer time zone when it comes to financial aid or tuition. Members of the military should sign a power of attorney during their deployment. In addition, as Generation Z begins to invest in property, they may sign a financial power of attorney in favor of a real estate agent or broker for the specific purpose of purchasing a plot of land.
When preparing a financial durable power of attorney, you will need to select an agent to act for you. In older generations, the principal may select an adult child. For a member of Generation Z, this is not yet an option, so it’s more likely that a parent, adult sibling, or spouse would be selected for this role.
A durable healthcare or medical power of attorney is the document that allows an agent to receive information about the your medical condition, as well as to make healthcare decisions on behalf of you, when you are unable to give or revoke consent.
Once someone turns 18, HIPPA Privacy Laws prevent healthcare providers from disclosing healthcare information about their patients to others. While some members of Generation Z are estranged from their family, others do want parents or siblings to be able to speak with medical providers and make decisions. Having a healthcare power of attorney in place will give your agent permission to speak for you.
If you live in a different state than your parents, consider creating a healthcare or medical power of attorney under your current state laws and one under your parents’ state laws to make it as easy as possible for everyone to understand what is going on in the event of an emergency.
A durable mental health power of attorney gives permission to an agent, under strict requirements, to commit you to psychiatric hospitalization. Signing this document will make it much easier for your loved ones to give you the care that you need. Without it, they would have to go to court to ask for court-appointed guardianship first.
If you have a history of psychosis or psychotic breaks, or if you have a medication interaction that seriously affects your ability to function, having a durable mental health power of attorney is especially important.
Taking legal precautions to protect your mental and physical health, as well as to keep your financial affairs in order, makes good sense, even at a young age.
Additionally, as Generation Z matures into adulthood, it will become increasingly common for its members to be listed as agents in their parents’ advanced directives, including power of attorney documents and living wills.
Parents of this generation who may select their newly adult children as agents should have a discussion regarding end of life decisions, as well as duties and limitations under these documents. Having a frank conversation is a great way for newly-minted adults to begin thinking about their own wishes and to start preparing their documents.
To speak with a qualified estate planning lawyer regarding powers of attorney documents, living wills, and other advanced directives, contact us today for a free initial consultation.