Members of Generation X, the generation of Americans sandwiched between the larger Baby Boom and Millennial generations, is slowly easing into middle age. With age comes wisdom, a little more money, growing health awareness, and a stronger need to develop an estate plan as soon as possible. Generation X members who create estate plans often have somewhat different issues they need to focus on when compared to plans crafted by older or younger people. Today, we thought we’d take a little time to talk about the issues that Gen Xers need to think about.
Generation X estate Plans and Children
Many Gen Xers have families and children. Whenever you have a young child under your care, having an estate plan that protects that child in the event you become incapacitated or die is essential. At the very least you need to have a last will and testament that names a guardian who will care for your child in the event you and the child’s other parent dies or is unable to provide parental care. Beyond that, including financial protections such as life insurance, and making sure the child’s inheritance is protected, is also vital.
Generation X Estate Plans and Incapacitation
As Gen Xers ease into middle age, many of them are facing health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and even more significant concerns. These issues often prompt people to consider what they might want to happen to them should they become incapacitated. This is why a Gen X estate plan must include incapacity planning elements. Powers of attorney, advance medical directives, and other tools all allow you to exert control over what happens to you, your property, and your family in the event you become unable to make your own choices.
Generation X Estate Plans and Divorce
Marriage is a significant life event, and like any such event, it should prompt you to make changes to an already existent estate plan. If you haven’t made a plan, a marriage should prompt you to do so. Further, many members of Gen X are easing into their second, or even third or subsequent, marriages. However, they have either yet to craft an estate plan, or worse, have failed to update the plan they made while single or previously married.
Just like marriage, a divorce should prompt you to update your estate plan. Spouses have specific estate planning rights that terminate once a couple divorces. If you crafted a plan while you were married to someone else, many of the choices you made may no longer apply to your new circumstances. Updating your plan to reflect your new marital status is essential if you want to prevent potential complications.