I want to know if your adult children are productive citizens or drains on your bank account. Are they employed or underemployed? Are they shrewd investors or spendthrifts? Are all of your kids similar, or do their financial situations and personalities vary widely?
If you listened to your attorney or friend who told you to get an estate plan while your children were young, GREAT JOB! But, if you haven’t updated your estate plan once they achieved adulthood, YOU HAVE WORK TO DO! Very, very often it makes sense to tailor your estate plan to the personalities and situations of your beneficiaries. That’s part of the beauty of estate planning. Take the following example:
I am currently managing a decedent’s estate and trust. The decedent’s estate planning documents are from 1994. 1994! The kids were 3 and 7 years old at the time. Wisely, the decedent put restrictions on the ages at which his young children would inherit his wealth, doling out small amounts every five years until they reached age 35. All fine and good.
Fast forward to 2017. At 26 and 30 years old, the kids are financially stable, thriving, responsible. Notwithstanding the productive members of society they are today, they will be treated like spendthrifts until they’re 35. Yes, perhaps that’s what dad wanted. But, more than likely dad would have come up with a different scheme for passing along his assets knowing what he knew about his children’s personalities and circumstances!
What’s the message here? Children becoming adults is a life change that warrants revisiting your estate plan. If it’s time to look over your plan, call Wright Beamer at (248) 477-6300 to schedule your review appointment.