We previously wrote about how estate planning should change at different stages of your life. The same is true for your dependents. Their age and life circumstances will often prompt you to think about how to best care for and support them. Here are some thoughts on estate planning for different stages of your dependents’ lives.
When your children are young, this is a critical time for estate planning. To ensure that they are well cared for and supported in the event of your death, you will need several estate planning arrangements. First, you must designate a guardian in your will. This avoids disputes among family members and allows you to decide who should care for them.
Secondly, since minors cannot directly receive assets, you’ll need a way to protect your assets while your children are young while still offering financial support for their daily living expenses, healthcare, and education. Trusts are a popular solution for that.
Thirdly, since your children are too young to make decisions on your behalf, you must choose other trusted individuals in your life for power of attorney, health care proxy, and executor responsibilities.
Once your kids become adults, they no longer need a guardian. However, you may be concerned about how they will handle a large inheritance. Will they have the maturity and financial aptitude for receiving large sums of money? You may want to delay granting them full access to estate assets until they reach a certain age. In the meantime, another trusted person can be assigned to manage your estate on behalf of your children and disburse funds in smaller sums for their daily living expenses, educational aspirations, and healthcare.
Marriage and Children
When your kids start having children, that is a major milestone for both them and you! Your estate planning goals are likely to shift. Instead of merely supporting your children, you may also want to make arrangements for your grandchildren. Pay special attention to how you assign assets to both children and grandchildren and how they may perceive the fairness of your decisions.
More Thoughts on Estate Planning for Different Stages of Your Dependents’ Lives
We always encourage our clients to review estate plans often,… yearly at a minimum. With so many things that can change in both your life and the lives of your dependents, keeping your estate plan up-to-date is the only way to achieve your changing goals. Estate planning for different stages of your dependents’ lives is extremely important. The above are but a few potential factors. Schedule a consultation with our Massachusetts estate planning attorney to discuss all of the special circumstances in your life now. We will continue to work with you over the years to adapt your estate plan as your life changes and your family grows.