Many young and single people believe that the time to start thinking about estate planning is when they are older, or perhaps if they ever get married or have children. Others may consider it when a friend or family member dies without an estate plan. But really, everyone should start thinking about having an estate plan right away.

Estate planning includes deciding how your assets are controlled and divided in the event of your death and who may make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. More complex estate planning may involve legal aspects of trusts, taxation, gifting, etc.

At the very least, everyone, regardless of age and wealth, should think about the following documents:

1. A Last Will and Testament. Your last will and testament controls the transfer of any property you own individually (not property you own jointly with someone else or property that has a beneficiary designation) at your death. After your death, your last will and testament will be filed with the probate court, and your executor will be responsible for transferring this property to your beneficiaries. Also, a last will and testament nominates a guardian of any minor children, and nominates the executor of your estate. Dying without a will (intestate) leaves the decision of how your property will be divided in the hands of the laws of the state where you live.  This may result in people you don’t even like inheriting your property.

2. Durable Power of Attorney. The durable power of attorney authorizes a person you designate to act on your behalf in financial matters if you are unable to do so. This document allows the person you designate to sign tax returns, cash checks, sell securities, sign deeds, etc. It can be particularly helpful if you have an illness or injury that affects your capacity for an extended period.

3. Health Care Power of Attorney. The health care power of attorney allows your agent (who can also be the person with the durable power of attorney, or someone else) to make health care decisions for you in case you are no longer able to make these decisions yourself. This includes, but is not limited to, decisions relating to life-sustaining treatment.

4. Living Will Declaration. The living will declaration lays out your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment if you’re ever in a terminal condition or a permanently unconscious state and cannot make your wishes known.

In addition to these basic documents, it’s also important to make sure your beneficiary designations are up to date on your life insurance policies, annuities, retirement accounts and other investment accounts.

If you’re young and single and haven’t given much thought to an estate plan, join the club. But that doesn’t mean you should keep kicking the can down the road. Planning for your incapacity and death isn’t fun, but if you really want to live life on your terms, then take action to make sure that you do just that.