Perhaps like most people, before I started working in Estate Planning Law, I had a very narrow picture of what estate planning looked like. I had seen examples on TV shows and movies such as Ron Swanson’s estate plan from Parks and Recreation, keeping most of his assets tied up in gold, buried under ground, and a “will” that was less like a will than it was napkin art. However, when I began to see the rubber meeting the road in actual estate planning, it became quite clear to me that this was not something you want to wait on until you are driven to bury your money to protect it.
We, of course, want to help clients distribute their estate the way they want to after they’ve passed, but also there are so many things that we are able to assist and protect for our clients during life. Because of this, and the fact that one can never predict when they will need an estate plan, we have seen an increasing amount of younger people, especially children of existing clients, begin their own estate plan. There are so many reasons to have a functional estate plan, no matter what stage of life you are currently in. For someone like myself who is married with no children, my biggest concern is to make sure all of my health care documents are the way they should be, and that my husband and my assets won’t go through probate in order for him to receive them. If you have young children, making sure that guardianship is in place, and your assets will be distributed to them in a way that makes sense for their needs and ages, is an incredibly important reason to begin your estate plan.
In addition, coordinating parents and children’s estate plans, especially if there are assets being inherited either way, will make the whole process run so much smoother for everyone. A client can have a fantastic estate plan, but more often than not, their children are the main beneficiaries. Children of clients need to understand the ins and outs of their parents’ estate plan, but also if they have a great estate plan of their own to protect what they’ve received, and what they will pass on, is an example of fantastic generational planning. Don’t let the buck stop with your parents, pass it on for generations, and make sure you have an estate plan that works.
-This blog was written by Rachel in our office