COVID-19 Resources

Millennial Estate Planning During the Pandemic

Millennial Estate Planning During the Pandemic

The coronavirus is surging among millennials. As states reopen across the country, the New York Times reported that people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s account for an alarmingly growing proportion of the spread. States that reopened earlier in the year are experiencing drastic increases in their infection and hospitalization rates.

This resurgence reveals the dangers that millennials face as New Jersey reopens. No one is immune from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, we can expect similar rises in our infection rates now that we can dine at restaurants and get a haircut. Before you appear in the next photo of an overcrowded patio at D’Jais, you should consider the benefits offered by basic estate planning.

Millennials are conditioned to equate estate planning with wealth. Consequently, they often dismiss its value. The pandemic may undermine this misconception. The surge of coronavirus infections amongst millennials demonstrates the need for estate planning regardless of wealth. Millennials should now recognize that life-threatening events can and do happen. Advance directives, powers of attorney, and wills, can all be used to help millennials create a legacy and plan for those worst-case scenarios.

An advance directive specifies the treatments that healthcare providers can administer or withhold in the event that you are unable to communicate your wishes. Examples of such treatment include ventilation, resuscitation, hydration, and nutrition. Given that ventilators are used to treat severe cases of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the coronavirus), it is prudent for millennials to execute an advance directive that identifies their healthcare preferences.

A power of attorney authorizes a third party to serve as your attorney-in-fact to perform certain duties on your behalf in a wide variety of situations, including financial and healthcare matters. You can grant your attorney-in-fact access to your email and social media accounts. Your attorney-in-fact can be anyone, including but not limited to your spouse, a parent, or a friend.

There are different types of power of attorney instruments. A durable power of attorney becomes effective immediately and is regularly used to appoint an attorney-in-fact to make healthcare decisions. Critically ill COVID-19 ventilated patients (including millennials) are put in medically induced comas to help combat the infections. By executing a durable power of attorney, your healthcare providers can be guided by the individual that you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf consistent with your values.

A will is used to assign someone to dispose of your assets according to your wishes, serve as the guardian of your children, and become the caretaker of your pet. Millennials often believe that they have not acquired enough wealth to inure the benefits of a will, even if they have children. However, millennials own more assets than they realize.

Assets do not merely include bank accounts and I.R.A.’s. They also include intangible assets, such as blogs, cryptocurrency, and that song you wrote in college. Similarly, they include sentimental items that you may want to bequeath to a specific friend from high school.

A will can also be used to direct the management or deletion of your digital presence. Your will should include an inventory of your online accounts and login information. It should also designate a custodian of your digital presence and an expression of your wishes regarding its management.

The pandemic has forced millennials to confront their mortality. Basic estate planning can help alleviate the stressors inherent in that confrontation. Nevertheless, estate planning should not be viewed as a fixation on death. It is, in fact, a celebration of our youth and ensures that our values endure the test of time.

Aaron Cohen is an associate of the firm and concentrates his practice in Family Law and Estate Planning. He can be reached at