Estate Plans Evolve with Age

A good estate plan for a young adult is likely not good for a middle-aged individual or a senior citizen. As we age our life circumstances change and our estate plans need to reflect those changes. It is essential that you review your estate plan periodically to make sure it addresses your current situation.

Having a current estate plan ensures that your assets will go to whom you want them to. It will ensure that portions of your estate don’t mistakenly go to someone who no longer holds an important part in your life and likewise that significant people in your life are included.

Typically, estate plans for young single adults are quite simple. Personal property and real estate interests need to be addressed. Frequently charitable gifts are made to organizations or worthy causes.

As young adults age greater assets and marriage can affect the estate plan. Children will require greater changes to the plan. Provisions must be made for the child to potentially inherit as a minor. A guardian and conservator should be designated to take care of the child’s personal and financial welfare. Estate plans should be updated with each addition to the family.

As individuals approach middle age their lives change and so should their estate plans. They frequently have more assets and start to plan for retirement. These changes mean that you want to protect and grow your assets. This may be a time that a trust is indicated for your estate plan. You want to make sure that the inheritance of your assets is properly addressed.

At this time your children are of course aging as well. Your plan may now need to reflect potential inheritance going to adult children instead of minors. This can include addressing potential claims from their divorcing spouses.

Changes in your marital status requires significant changes to your estate plan. Divorce or marriage should prompt an immediate revision to your plan.

As one approaches and enters older age there are of course more changes. Retirement occurs or may be coming up. You may be having grandchildren. There could be the death of a spouse or beneficiaries. All of these are reasons to revisit your estate plan and to make revisions as needed to reflect these changes in your life.

Your estate plan needs to change throughout your life. It needs to evolve with you. A current and accurate estate plan will ensure that your estate will be distributed in the manner you want and to whom you want. Make sure a significant person in your life is not left out. Protect the assets you have worked so hard for. Review your will regularly and keep it current with significant life changes. Shoffner & Associates can work with you to create and maintain an estate plan specific to you and your needs.

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Freya Allen Shoffner, Esquire
Counselors to Small Business and Families.

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