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By Cynthia Rignanese
Contributing Writer 

Your Child is Age 18 - Should This New Adult Draft Estate Planning Documents?


Last updated 9/17/2019 at 7:08pm

Attorney Cynthia Rignanese

Many people think wills and estate planning are only for seniors! Not true! Every student who just graduated from Lake Wales High in 2019 needs to think about estate planning.

In my 30 years' experience as an attorney, when it comes to estate planning, there are many excuses people use in order to convince themselves that an estate plan is not quite necessary at whatever point in their lives currently. These excuses usually are avoidance tactics -- avoidance tactics that are used because people do not have a clear understanding of what an estate plan is and why it is important. Estate planning is important for a variety of reasons and it is a vital way to achieve financial peace of mind.

One of the more common excuses people employ is that they are too young to worry about estate planning. The fact remains, though, that an accident or tragedy can happen at any point in a person's life and it is always prudent to be prepared.

Without necessary estate planning documents, important decisions regarding where a person's money will go and what will happen should a person fall into a terminal or unconscious state will be decided by Florida law. Someone you have never met in Tallahassee's legislature will decide who is in charge of you and your assets; you will not get to select.

AARP says 78 percent of millennials do not have a will.

Many young people may not have large estates, but they do have children and spouses or significant others they would want to be taken care of should anything unfortunate occur. In order to ensure assets are divided amongst loved ones in a way that conforms to a person's wishes, it is necessary to draft a will in which beneficiaries are named in clear and certain terms. Without a will, asset division will be decided based on Florida State law.

Young people also likely have certain medical directives they would like to be made known. This is possible with an estate planning document known as the living will. The living will makes known what a person desires should they be on life support or in a state of unconsciousness.

A health care surrogate is a must have for everyone, no matter their age. It states who you want to be in charge of your medical care if you are unable to communicate with your doctor. Once a person is age 18 in Florida, their parent no longer has legal control or say in decisions affecting the new adult, and the new adult's healthcare. Naming a responsible person is being a responsible adult.

The will, the living will and the surrogate are the basic necessary documents. These are for everyone of any age over 18 who to protect their family and ensure their wishes are carried out. There may be other documents and planning strategies that an experienced attorney will recommend.

Rignanese & Associates is available to work with clients on their estate planning needs. We offer meetings in Lake Wales or Winter Haven. Please reach out to us at 863-294-1114; please request our Free Estate Planning Packet. Additional information at


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