Home' Island Sun : ISN 010617 Contents It’s new year’s resolution time, so I thought I’d throw in the
plug for considering an update to your estate plan. I was born
at the tail end of the baby boomer generation, which is said
to include all those born between 1946 and 1964. We’ve been
a royal pain-in-the-rear generation – first swelling the ranks
of classrooms causing the construction of new schools, and
then making college admissions hyper-competitive, afterwards
increasing the demand for first home purchases and so on.
We even created a baby-boomlet of our own progeny in the
1980s and 1990s.
Now the oldest baby boomers are beginning to retire – while most remain in the
prime of our working careers. We’re expected to put a strain on the Social Security
and Medicare programs, and many haven’t saved enough for retirement. There are
a number of reasons for that, from overconsumption to stock market and housing
crashes to believing the mirage of never-ending youth.
And that last item – the mirage of never-ending youth – is also what traps those
who haven’t looked at their estate plan in quite some time. When baby boomers arrive
at my office, they generally produce existing wills that call for guardianships for their
children (who are now grown adults themselves) and name long-deceased parents as
executors and trustees.
Which brings me to today’s topic: the top five reasons that baby boomers need to
update their estate plans.
1. Relationships Change – Just as I mentioned above, your old wills, trusts and
power of attorney documents might name people to serve in posts such as personal
representative, trustee and health care surrogate who you may have lost touch with or
who are no longer close to us. While attorneys in northern jurisdictions often name
themselves as trustee of their clients’ trusts, you may now be a Florida resident or that
attorney may have long since retired. It’s time to take a fresh look at who you have
named to conduct your affairs for you in the event of your disability or death. Also,
we may now be in a different relationship or marriage than we found ourselves in
when we first prepared our estate plan. Blended families typical of second marriages
require a thoughtful, detailed plan to prevent problems between a surviving spouse and
2. Children Grow Up – Your will drawn 20 years or more ago may have
contemplated making distributions for your young children that are now fully grown
with kids of their own. Your adult children may also be some of the best candidates
to serve as your personal representative under you will or as your trustee under your
trust. You may also want to protect the inheritance you leave your grown children
from adult issues such as divorce or lawsuits.
3. Your Health – While none of us like to admit it, age usually presents more health
issues to deal with. You want to make sure that your health care surrogate documents
are up to date, as well as your living will that designates what you want to have
happen should you end up on life support with no hope of recovery. None of us wants
to be the next Terri Schiavo, so it is important that your health care documents are up
to date with today’s law and with your intent.
4. Your Stuff – It’s probably time to review your assets and how your estate plan
provides for you, in the event of your disability, and your loved ones after your death.
In our youth our main assets probably consisted of a home, term life insurance and
maybe a few investments. As we enter middle-age, we may no longer have term
life insurance (instead, we may have whole or universal life policies that contain
cash value), and we may have larger investment accounts as well as IRA and 401(k)
accounts. As the types and amounts of assets that we own changes, it is important
that our estate plan change with them. An estate plan built around a young family with
term life insurance should look drastically different than an estate plan for someone in
the prime of their working career or who is nearing retirement.
5. Your Legacy – Finally, many of us like to consider what kind of legacy we leave
behind. It might include a charitable legacy with institutions or causes near and dear
to our hearts, or it might mean how we want our progeny to carry on with the wealth
that we’ve accumulated. Perhaps we’re concerned that we’ll take away the incentive to
lead a productive life, or we may want our wealth to be used for certain activities we
find beneficial – such as education or health care.
There’s a lot to consider. Make it a priority to dust off the will or trust that you’ve
neglected for so long, and use these five points to write down what concerns you
the most about your own planning. Then, take that to your attorney to provide a
framework for your discussions and plans.
©2017 Craig R. Hersch. Learn more at www.sbshlaw.com.
Five Reasons Baby Boomers
Need To Update Estate Plan
by Craig R. Hersch, Florida Bar Board Certified
Wills, Trusts & Estates Attorney; CPA
ISLAND SUN - JANUARY 6, 2017
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The evening’s theme is Where
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Pember resides in Fort Myers, but
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continued on page 24B
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