South Bend / Mishawaka, IN – Many young families underestimate the value of estate planning because they are young and healthy or they think the value of their estate is too small to require an estate plan. However, even young and healthy individuals are not immune to a sudden debilitating accident or untimely death. While many young parents prefer to shy away from the thought of dying while they have minor children depending on them, planning for the unexpected is the responsible and prudent thing to do.
At the very least, an estate plan for a young family should include naming someone to administer the estate, naming a guardian for minor children, naming someone to manage the children’s inheritance, providing instructions for the distribution of assets, acquiring term life insurance, and planning for disability or incapacitation.
While estate planning will require you to really think about your close relationships and make some difficult decisions, having a basic plan in place will ensure that a responsible individual has been named to care for your final financial affairs, to financially support and raise your children in the event that both you and your spouse are unable to, and to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are incapacitated.
Additionally, when your remaining life expectancy is several decades or more, flexibility is key. Young parents often have a difficult time deciding whether they should minimize gift and estate taxes through lifetime gifts or retain assets in their estates to ease the potential income tax burden on their heirs. Thankfully, while you may not be able to predict your family’s financial situation years from now, there are estate planning options that allow you the flexibility to adjust your assets to take advantage of the most favorable tax implications. Estate planning attorneys can work with you to develop the best tax saving strategy for your family.
Most importantly, estate planning is not a one-time event, but rather a process that evolves over time. An estate plan should reflect your current wishes, which likely fluctuate as your circumstances change: you have another child, your wealth increases, your relationships change, etc. Your estate plan should be revisited regularly to ensure it is up to date with your present wishes and has not been affected by changes in estate taxes or other laws.
Over the years, I have worked with countless young families to establish an initial estate plan and revise it as necessary. If you’re ready for the peace of mind that your family will be protected if something should happen to you, we would be happy to assist you with developing an estate plan that meets your family’s needs.
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