Myth 4: Estate Plans are Dependent on Age

As we all know, your life goes through a series of changes as you grow older. You may go to college and/or enter the workforce, you may get married, or you may have children. You may even be lucky enough to retire one day! It is undeniable that each of these life events (and many others) will guide your life into new phases that are often significantly different from the previous one. Most people accept that these changes will occur and prepare accordingly. However, many of those same people don’t consider how a the new phase they worked hard to prepare for will affect their estate plan.

Everyone needs a complete estate plan, but everyone doesn’t need the SAME estate plan. A newlywed couple will need a different plan than a couple who is reaching retirement age; a family with young children will need a different plan than a family with grown children; a single parent will need a different plan than an individual who has no children. As you enter into each new phase, your estate plan will likely need to be updated to ensure that it accomplishes your family’s needs and goals.

One major life event that begins a new phase and should spur you into action with regard to your estate plan is marriage. In North Carolina, just because you are married does not mean that your spouse will be the main beneficiary of your estate. In fact, unless you specify otherwise, your spouse will have to share your estate with any children, or in the alternative, parents, you have that survive you. As a result, most people should meet with an estate planning attorney soon after marriage to ensure they have the ideal estate plan for their situation.

Yet another phase in life that should lead to an update in your estate plan is the birth of a child. As most parents know, each child is different, and it is likely that the estate plan you developed prior to the birth of a child doesn’t fully contemplate their needs and special considerations after a year or two of getting to know them.

At Walker Lambe, we take pride in helping individuals and families tailor an estate plan to best address the phase of life they’re in and accomplish their goals. If you anticipate life changes in the next year or simply want to make sure what you have in place will protect all parties involved, give Walker Lambe a call today at (919) 493-8411.
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