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Common estate plan issues important for older adults

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2020 | Estate Planning |

People entering middle age often discover that their aging parents might have gaps in their estate plans. Possibly, they do not have an estate plan at all. This can result in significant delays and expenses if someone passes away without a will in Florida or elsewhere in the U.S. Although you might feel uncomfortable discussing an estate plan, getting these affairs in order typically helps all parties approach the future with greater peace of mind. Your parents will know that a surviving spouse will have access to resources and that their assets will be distributed according to their wishes.

Review and update an estate plan

If your parents have wills, then they are off to a good start. However, estate planning documents can become incomplete or obsolete as the years pass. People acquire new assets or sell assets, grandchildren are born, and named beneficiaries sometimes pass away. An estate plan that does not keep up with changing circumstances cannot perform effectively when the time comes. Roughly every two to five years, people should evaluate their plans and update terms as necessary.

Trusts and lifetime gifting

Asset protection becomes a larger issue as people age because they may need to move into a nursing home. Trusts can hold assets for beneficiaries. Gifting also introduces a way for people to pass on assets. You may wish to explore how to use gifts in conjunction with trusts to shield beneficiaries from taxation.

Advantage of professional trustees

Even if you are in confident in your abilities to administer a trust, your own professional and personal obligations may not leave you with sufficient time to keep up with trust duties. Hiring an outside trustee may represent a good solution.

Explore estate planning strategies

People usually begin estate planning by thinking about what they want to accomplish and who they would like to name as beneficiaries. Once these broad strokes have been considered, you may want to discuss your goals with an attorney. Legal advice might help you make informed decisions about trusts, gifting and trustee selection.