Legal and Financial Planning for College Graduates

Do college graduates need legal and financial planning?

Absolutely! Good legal and financial planning applies to all young adults in their twenties and beyond.  Oftentimes, individuals start their first big job after college while others start working right out of high school. Everyone over the age of 18 is considered an adult under the law, so this planning is critical to all adults age 18 and up.

What are the basic legal documents that college graduates need to have in place?

Medical and financial durable power of attorneys are critical estate planning documents for all adults.  No one knows what tomorrow brings, and individuals of all ages have accidents, injuries, and illnesses.  Most parents are used to helping their children in the event of an emergency, but once our children turn 18 we can no longer help them without the proper legal documents or going through the probate court system.  This includes talking to doctors about treatment and care to accessing medical records to surgery and treatment decisions.  A well-drafted medical durable power of attorney and patient advocate designation allows an individual to name a parent or another loved one to make those decisions without having to obtain a Guardianship in the probate court.  Likewise, young adults need a properly drafted financial durable power of attorney to help them pay bills and handle their financial affairs in the event that they cannot.  Otherwise, parents have to petition the probate court to obtain a Conservatorship to help their adult children with fianances.

Do college graduates also need a will or a trust?

Probably, yes.  A will is usually appropriate for most young adults. This puts in writing who they would want receiving their money and handling their estate if something happened to them.  If they don’t have a will, then the state they live in has one waiting for them!  And chances are, the statutory will, may not reflect their wishes.  A revocable living trust is another option, but most young adults are fine starting off with a will and then creating a trust in the years to come after they accumulate more assets, get married, or have a child.  The preparation of a trust is more expensive than a will and most young adults have limited assets.  That being said, every case is different and it is always best for your child to consult with their own estate planning attorney to determine the best documents for them.

What type of financial issues do college graduates need to think about?

When starting a new job, many individuals receive a benefits package.  This may include employer life insurance and the opportunity to invest in a 401(k).  To begin with, it is important to remember to designate beneficiaries for these assets.  If beneficiary is not listed and something happens to your adult child, then the asset will most likely go through the probate court.  In addition, as your child begins to make money, he or she will want to explore investing their money so it grows and keeps up with inflation.  Most financial advisors suggest that college graduates take advantage of being young and invest their money.  Since time is on their side, the money can grow significantly.  Also, a lot of jobs with larger companies offer some type of retirement plan and most advisors suggest that young adults take advantage of those plans.  Lastly, renters insurance is important for young adults relocating and moving into an apartment in the event that there is a flood or something unexpected happens.

If you are graduating college or have a loved one graduating college who can you contact for help with your planning?

Individuals definitely want to work with a good estate planning attorney; someone that specializes in this area of the law.  If you or your loved one live in Michigan or Florida, we can help.  Just email us at  In addition, to an estate planning attorney, you want to consult with a financial advisor.  Ideally, you want to work with an advisor that can grow with you as your financial portfolio changes in the years to come.

Danielle and Andy Mayoras are co-authors of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!, legal media experts, and keynote speakers.  You can find them on Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.  For all of the latest legal news, be sure to check out their blog.



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    Danielle Mayoras is an on-camera legal expert, attorney, author, and keynote speaker. As a respected media source, she has lent her expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, People, Forbes, Kiplinger, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, among many others. She has appeared on Access Hollywood, the Rachael Ray Show, The Insider, CNN, CNN International, NBC Nightly News, Forbes, The Hallmark Channel, ABC’s Live Well Network, CBS, FOX, PBS, and NBC affiliates. Danielle also serves as a legal analyst for CBS News Detroit.

    In addition to co-authoring the best-selling book Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, Danielle has been a contributor to Forbes and other outlets. Danielle has also appeared as a TV host and legal expert on multiple celebrity documentaries for the REELZ Channel. When not doing media, Danielle helps clients in her thriving law firm and serves as a keynote speaker delighting audiences across the country.