In my last post, I raised the question of whether your Will or estate planning documentation accurately reflects your current life situation and where are you headed. In this post, I will reflect on my life journey as it relates to estate planning.
Toddlers, Tweens & Teens
I always hate hearing people say, “Enjoy them because it goes by so quickly!” But it’s so so true! I blinked and now I am registering my baby for his first high school classes. When did that happen? How did that happen?
In our original Will, when our children were young and toddling around our home, my husband and I nominated family members who lived a plane ride away as guardians for our children. But now, our children are tweening and teening and all that it implies. As a result, we revaluated whether our initial guardianship decisions still held true to our current life situation.
It is always good to consider the decisions you make related to your most precious asset, your children. Maybe a different decision needs to be made and it should be reflected in your Will?
Grandparents as Guardians
Is this also a good time to consider if the choice of your own parents as a guardian for your children is still the best decision for all parties involved. This is hard one. My parents are forever young in my mind, but every adult child has a moment when they look at their parents and realize that they are getting older. It happened to me last summer when I realized my parents were not going to be able to endure a full day at the amusement park chasing the grandkids. Wait, what? We’re not going to close down the park? Reality hits when you realize that your parents are getting older and may not be the best-suited guardians anymore. Another decision to contemplate and discuss with your estate planning attorney.
I’m addressing this topic again with a different perspective, because it is an important one. Do my parents have a Will? What if something happens to them? Do they have a General Durable Power of Attorney? Are their wishes detailed in a Health Care Directive? Where are all those documents? Adulting is hard at any age, but adulting at 40 involves some tough, but important, conversations with my parents that require clarity and open dialogue.
Living in this space of the decade of the Big 4-0, I have friends who are waiting to receive college acceptance letters for their children. My heart is already starting to prepare for the myriad of emotions that I’m going to feel when we are there. With college comes an 18-year old and all kinds of steps towards adulthood. While we all know that they will always be our babies, under the law, parents of “adult” kids have roughly the same authority as strangers off the street. This leads to critical questions, such as, “Do my friends’ children have their General Durable Powers of Attorney in place in the event that something happens? “
This is just a glimpse of the running dialogue and thoughts that define my day as I help my clients gain clarity with the important details in life. My hope is that you, too, whatever age and stage you are at, will begin to take time to reflect on your life through the lens of estate planning. You’ll be surprised to discover how much life has changed; from children who are ready to fly the coop to new friends and family joining you on this life journey. If you look around and notice that you have more questions that need to be answered or pondered, it might be time to give your estate planning attorney a call.
Photo credit: Will Clayton on Flickr