If you have a will, congratulations.  Based on my experience about 50% of people do have wills.  The typical time people set up a will is once they have children.  The hardest part of that is figuring out the guardian but once that is determined, then the will can be made.

But now that your kids are grown up, it’s an excellent idea to review your will and make sure your wishes are still relevant and documented properly.

A good lawyer friend of mine has said that due to increasing longevity, our estate planning needs and advice evolve over time as well.  Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • If one of your children predeceases you, do you want their share of your estate to go to their surviving spouse or to your grandchildren?
  • If one of your children has no children and the rest do, and that child predeceases you, do you want their share of your estate to go to your surviving in law or not?
  • Are there any charitable foundations or individuals that you’d like to contribute to, especially as your children may not need your estate as much anymore?
  • Do you trust your child if they were to receive their share of your estate today? What about their relationships with their partner.  Do you trust them as well?  Are there any creditors you should be concerned about with your child?
  • When would you want your children to gain access to your wealth?
  • Would you like to leave money for your grandchildren now, as opposed to waiting until their own parents (your kids) pass away?
  • What do you want to be left to your spouse? Everything now or split up?
  • Is your estate set up to transfer in the most cost-effective, tax-efficient way?
  • Can you set up your assets to avoid probate and is that a smart decision?
  • Who will care for your pets?
  • Are your beneficiaries for life insurance and registered accounts up to date? (Especially if your marital situation has changed?)
  • Would someone know how to access your online accounts if they need to access them?
  • Have you planned for a potential stay in a nursing home?

Really, the focus is, does your current plan reflect your current wishes?  And if not then get to a lawyer and make the changes.

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