Attention Empty Nesters: Now May Be the Time to Update Your Estate Plan

Your life has changed in a fundamental way. It may seem like you were just recently adjusting to being a new parent, and now you are adjusting to having grown children who are living on their own. As you adjust to quiet nights without carpools or homework, and to weekends that are no longer spent at sporting events or music lessons, you may also need to adjust the estate plan that you developed when your children were younger and were living under your roof.

What to Consider

As you think about possible changes to the estate plan that you developed when your children were still financially dependent on you, it is important to consider:

  • The age at which your children may inherit your money outright. Many people with minor children may create estate planning documents that hold money in trust for their children until the reach a certain age. For example, if you created your estate plan when your child was a toddler then it might have made sense for you to have your money held in trust for your child until your child was 25 years old. However, now that your child is 25, do you think he is mature enough to use that money appropriately? Should it be held in trust longer? Should there be a graduated payout system where he gets some now and some when he’s older?
  • Specific bequests. When all of your children were young you may have left things to them in equal amounts. That may still be your intent; however, you may need to take additional measures to accomplish your goals. Consider, for example, whether you have gifted one child a significant amount of money to buy a house or to go to college, or whether you want one child—the one with the love of music—to inherit your baby grand piano. Maybe you want one child to inherit your grandmother’s china.

Of course, other modifications may be necessary depending on your specific family situation. If, for example, you have a grown child with special needs then you may need to modify your estate plan to protect that child and his siblings.

Don’t Do This Alone

You deserve to spend this time enjoying your grown children and your independence. Creating an estate plan that is right for your family may be important to your peace of mind and to your family’s future. To learn more, please download a copy of our FREE report, The Ten Things You Must Know Before Creating (or Amending) Your Will or Trust.

 

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm