When I am in conversations with friends, family, or acquaintances about my professional endeavors with estate planning, they often ask, “Should I have a Will?” or “Is it time to update my Will?”
My responses vary, but typically involve asking if they have reached life milestones (such as marriage, divorce or children) or whether there are things to consider today that were not relevant when they first drafted a Will?
For me, a recent milestone birthday, the big 4-0, pushed me into a new decade of life with a momentous feeling around it. It is as if overnight that milestone celebration gave me a new perspective that has somehow given me clarity at 40. I have moments with my kids that bring me such happiness, yet the number of years I’ve been parenting and their growth tell me it is fleeting. I could laugh and cry in the same breath with that thought. Other things have a new meaning. For example, losing my “quick five pounds” is now taking me a month, and I’m still not there. Apparently, I have wandered into a new stage of life with a very different metabolism. What is up with that?
Anyway, with this new-found perspective, I found I should take my own advice. I used this life milestone as motivation to evaluate my own Will. I previously had a Will with a children’s trust and guardianships assigned to family members. When my husband and I sat down and evaluated our life and where we are today, we were struck with the realization that we would make different decisions if we were to draft another Will today.
In conversations with friends and others that are in the same decade of life, I found some common themes that surfaced in evaluating their Wills, one of which I will explore here.
Life As It Looks Now
Some refer to their 40th birthday as their “halfway” point and everyone wants to make the next half of their life count – including me! You will likely have a grand vision for this next stage of life. Is that vision accurately reflected in your Will? Are the people who are important to you and the charities that are meaningful in your life adequately addressed in your Will and estate planning?
If you are pondering these questions, it is definitely time to take a look at updating your Will and other estate planning documents to accurately reflect your current life situation and where you are headed. In my next post, I will walk you through my own life reflections and explore this concept more in detail.
Photo credit: lokate366 on Flickr