“Nearly 2.5 million Americans die each year, and many haven’t signed the basic documents needed to protect loved ones. A 2011 Associated Press survey found 64% of baby boomers didn’t even have a living will, which anyone over the age of 18 should have.” Quoted from: The Real Estate-Planning Crisis Isn’t About Taxes
Those numbers should have you concerned. You should also realize that one estate plan is not a fix all. Your estate plan should evolve with your life. Each and every person over the age of 18 has a need for estate planning.
- Brand new 18-year olds no longer have parents with the authority to make medical decisions for you even if you are incapacitated, so who do you want to have that authority.
- The single working crowd may not think they need to worry about assets, but you may have retirement accounts in place or other assets that you should be concerned about.
- Unmarried couples don’t have any rights necessarily to each other’s assets or access to each other’s medical decisions.
- Married couples have some built-in protections from marriage, but that is not to say you do not need estate planning; there may be others in your life you want to include or exclude in your estate besides your spouse.
- If you have children or planning children, who and how will take care of them when you can’t.
- Newly separated and on your way to a divorce also has some estate planning complications that you will need to be aware of.
- If you are planning to remarry, think about a prenuptial agreement and what your new spouse will receive in comparison to any children from previous marriages.
- Recent widows also have to look at their estate plan again and will have their spouse’s estate to take care of.
So the moral of the story is to check and recheck your estate plan at every step of your life. A good rule of them is if something changes, your estate plan may need to change as well.