Individuals who take the time to establish an estate plan, often spent years creating and updating its provisions as their lives and financial and familial circumstances change. In cases where an individual has amassed a considerable amount of assets and plans to leave all or a portion of his or her wealth to children and grandchildren, it's important to seek the advice and assistance of an estate planning attorney.
We have previously written about the benefits of sharing one’s thoughts about estate planning with one’s family and close friends. Especially if there is a risk that one’s estate plan will be fought over by frustrated relatives, talking about one’s estate plan in the open can help to ensure that such fighting is preempted.
Anyone who grew up with one or more siblings can likely recall a time or two when you felt jealous of a brother or sister or that your parents favored a sibling over you. Many parents work very hard to try to create a family environment in which each child feels that they are equally loved, appreciated and supported. However as children grow and age, inevitably, there will be times when one child needs more attention or financial support.
In our last blog post, we began discussing ways that individuals with blended families can tailor their estate plans to provide for loved ones as they see fit. In our last post, we discussed how individuals who have children from a previous marriage or relationship and are now remarried, can use a prenuptial agreement to ensure that the bulk of one's estate goes to one's children.
Within the United States, the familial structure has never been so complex. Among those Americans who do marry, roughly 50 percent will eventually divorce; however, many of these divorcees will marry again. A 2013 report by the Pew Research Center revealed that four out of every 10 new marriages involves at least one individual who was previously married. Adding to the complexity of the modern family structure in the U.S. are statistics from the Centers for Disease and Prevention, which show that nearly 41 percent of births in the U.S. are to unwed mothers.
For many older Americans, a key estate planning goal centers on passing wealth and property down to children and grandchildren. Over the course of the next three to four decades, financial experts estimate that baby boomers will pass on upwards of $30 trillion to heirs. For those individuals on the receiving end of an inheritance, it's wise to take steps to safeguard against potential pitfalls and to seek the advice and counsel of a financial and estate planning professional.
During 2014 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that, for the first time in recorded U.S. history, the percentage of unmarried adults surpassed those who are married. While nationally, an estimated 50.2 percent of U.S. adults are single, the number of single adults in large metropolitan areas tends to be higher. In New York City, for example, a survey by NerdWallet found that 57.84 percent of the adult population is single. This percentage was significantly higher in other large cities including Washington D.C., with 70.27 percent and Boston where 69.32 percent of adults are single.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the current life expectancy in the U.S. is roughly 78 years. Additionally, a recent Gallup poll revealed that the average retirement age in the U.S. is 62. This means that, on average, an individual must ensure that he or she has enough retirement savings to account for both the planned and unplanned events during the 16 or so years after he or she retires.
By now, most New York City residents have likely heard about former NBA player Lamar Odom's recent serious health scare. After being found unconscious due to a suspected drug overdose, Odom was rushed to a Nevada hospital where doctors reportedly questioned whether or not he would survive.
If you've just started putting your estate plan together, then you likely have a lot of questions. Don't worry. You're not alone. Properly laying out an estate plan takes time and a lot of effort on your part. It also requires a deep understanding of the law as well, which is not something everyone has. Questions, therefore, are a natural part of establishing an estate plan - questions that are best directed toward an experienced estate planning attorney.