Attorney Mayo Talks Law - Law and Life: A Guide for Young Adults

When it's time to do some "adulting"...
Jonathan D. Mayo, Esq.

While I hesitate to come across as some wizened lecturer, and at 45, being not quite as old as some, my life as a young adult and the experiences of others have been instructive as to what works and what doesn't. Beyond the sorts of helpful, practical tips in "adulting" lie the subtleties of law, as unexpected events can have rippling consequences. So here is a set of legal and practical tips for young adults facing an unpredictable world.

Legal Tips

1) You are not invincible.

Many young folks feel, perhaps understandably, that wills and health-care proxies are just for older folks. Think again. No matter our age we could become incapacitated, or even die. Even worse, where many young couples stay unmarried, one person could be incapacitated while their mate is excluded from their bedside, as not technically, family. This is where health-care proxies come in. Even unmarried couples can sign reciprocal health care proxies, naming each other as authorized agents should one become incapacitated.

2) Wills for Young Adults.

Wills are also slept on by young people. The theory often goes, "Well I don't have much money, so why do i need a will?" The truth is that wills do way more than simply distribute your property. If someone has kids, their will can express preference for the appointment of guardians, or state preferences as to final arrangements.   On a related note, young people should avoid appointing their elders, parents included, as executors or guardians. While it may seem to make sense, as those choices are our own trusted relatives and mentors, imagine the burden upon our elderly relatives later down the road, when asked to serve. It is wiser to choose a trusted peer of our own generation, who is more likely to be alive, willing and able to serve when that time comes. Try to think of those peers that are good parents, patient advocates, or otherwise well-suited to care for your kids. Older relatives can still be considered as trustees, or for other fiduciary positions .Just make sure that you have chosen alternate appointments if chosen fiduciaries are unable to serve.

Practical Tips

Speaking now not so much as lawyer, but as someone who helped their family  escape the "rental trap" on Cape Cod to become  homeowners, here are some tips around home economics.

  • Drink 10 cent coffee instead of $1 or $3 coffee. (saves  enough to cover car insurance for a year)
  • Go to a first time home buyer's class.  Get out of the rental trap.
  • Build your credit. (Learn to responsibly leverage credit.)
  • Don't buy new or financed cars. Research Consumer Reports, and choose used cars that are notorious for longevity. (My current car, 1996 Lincoln Town Car,  panther platform  was $1600 7 years ago, still running strong. Listed for $39,000 in 1996.) You can get a great car for $2,000 or under, and if you can't afford to pay cash for that, you can't afford a car, anyway.
  • Drink tap water, not bottled water. (unless you are near Otis).
  • Avoid convenience stores, restaurants and prepared food, make your own  instead.
  • Learn to cook well, and invest in raw ingredients and dry goods to cut food costs.
  • Buy a small freezer, cuisinart and dough mixer to make/keep your own foods.
  • Make a home carbonation system  for soda and seltzer for pennies.
  • Do your own oil changes, and buy top quality filters on the internet in bulk. (I use genuine Motorcraft filters for my Lincoln that are cheaper than locally sourced generic filters.)

Taking steps like these, and working hard, you may well find yourself having the oldest car in the neighborhood, but the nicest house, and best cuisine. Good luck!

 In Conclusion:

Although this story may contain notes and opinions on the law this content does not constitute legal advice, nor create an Attorney-client relationship between readers and writer. Readers should consult a qualified attorney before taking on legal matters.


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