As you travel through the various seasons of life, you may not require the same estate plan. A plan you created in your 30’s could be vastly different from the one you need in your 60’s.
1. Young & Single. In your 20’s you most likely only need a Durable Power of Attorney for finances and an Advanced Health Care Directive. If you are single, this means that you name your parents to make financial and medical decisions if you are unable to. Once you purchase a new home, it’s time to create a will or trust.
2. Newly Married. Once you are married, you will probably want to name your spouse as agent on your durable power of attorney for finances and advanced health care directive. You should also create a revocable living trust and name spouse as beneficiary of your 401(k), life insurance policies, pension or retirement plans.
3. Married With Children. Now is the time to amend your trust to provide instructions and designate guardians to raise your kids, should something happen unexpectedly to you and your spouse. Beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, pension plans, etc. should also be updated to cover a situation where both parents die simultaneously.
4. The Middle Years. During this time, your trust should be updated as changes occur such as divorce, additional children, changes in financial situation, inheritances or substantial increase in net worth, or death of a beneficiary or trustee.