Is Estate Planning Impacted by My Life Stage?

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Each life stage has unique estate planning needs.

Are you young and single?

Perhaps you were at one point but are now married with young children.

In each stage of life, you are still you.

Although this is true, your goals and your circumstances change drastically.

According to a recent The News-Enterprise article titled “Life stages dictate estate planning needs,” your estate planning needs will also change over time.

When it comes to estate planning, life stages often influence what each client needs.

How does this present itself?

Estate planning needs differ according to life stage.
Your life stage may direct your estate planning goals.

Life Stage One:

The individuals in this stage of life are young and have few personal assets of their own.

Often these are colleges students or those who have recently entered the workforce.

Although these individuals may be single or married, they likely do not own real estate or other significant assets.

Incapacity planning is especially significant at this stage in life.

These individuals will need someone to manage their finances and make healthcare decisions if they cannot do so themselves.

Designating a beneficiary is also important (think life insurance and retirement plans at work), but the assets to be distributed are likely minimal.

Life Stage Two:

The next significant stage in life is parenthood.

Your estate plan should now include planning to protect and provide for minor children or children with special needs.

Accordingly, you will need to prioritize designating a guardian should your minor children be orphaned and possibly include a trust.

With a revocable living trust, you can designate a trustee to manage the assets for the benefit of your minor child based on your instructions outlined in the trust.

For example, once the child reaches a certain age or achieves a specific milestone, the child can receive the inheritance.

With such an inheritance trust created under a revocable living trust, you also will be able to keep these assets outside of probate proceedings.

Life Stage Three:

The third stage of life includes those who have adult children or no children and are nearing retirement age.

Minimizing taxes and passing assets smoothly to beneficiaries become primary concerns.

A trust may benefit those who want to provide for beneficiaries without funding a substance abuse habit, those concerned with estate taxes, or those with property in multiple states.

Having a last will and testament, advance health care directive, and durable power of attorney may be sufficient for those with a more simple estates.

Although each stage of life has different concerns, people in each stage still have their own goals and concerns.

An experienced estate planning attorney can create a plan to best meet your needs.

Reference: The News-Enterprise (Aug. 25, 2020) “Life stages dictate estate planning needs”