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Why Empty Nesters Need a New Estate Plan

Your estate plan is a dynamic being that should always change to accommodate your current stage of life—make sure you set up an appointment to update it.

Becoming an empty nester is a huge transition. In this stage of life, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor as your children move on and create their own lives outside of the family home. As you get used to sleeping in, choosing activities that you and your spouse enjoy instead of planning for the entire family, and a quiet house, don’t forget to think about what comes next. Your estate plan is a dynamic being that should always change to accommodate your current stage of life—make sure you set up an appointment to update it.

At John H. Ruby & Associates, we’re committed to helping our clients create and maintain estate plans that reflect their goals and priorities. Call us at 502-373-8044 to set up a consultation now.

Changing Family Dynamics

The empty-nester stage comes with a significant change in family dynamics. For years—perhaps decades—you were the sole provider for your children, and your estate plan required that you think about custody and the costs of raising children. Once your children are grown and out of the house, they are at least partially providing for themselves. While you likely want your assets to make life easier for them after you pass, you no longer have to worry about naming guardians or covering the costs of raising children to adulthood in your plan.

This is also a great time to begin considering how your legacy will impact generations to come. Your children may or may not yet be at the stage of having their own children, but you can still plan for how you want to provide for your future grandchildren. This may include setting up educational funds for them, creating trusts that they can access in adulthood, and limiting the tax consequences of their inheritances.

You could also use this time to think about any other changes in your family structure. If your children have married or gotten divorced, it may be time to add or remove people from your estate plan.

Managing Your Wealth and Preparing for Retirement

Whether you are already retired or heading toward retirement age, it is never too early to plan for retirement. It’s a good time to look at your assets and investments to determine how well they have prepared you for retirement—and if there are any changes you can make before you reach the end of your career.

You also have to think about how your assets and income streams could affect your retirement plans. If you plan on living in a nursing home or long-term care facility, know that having too much in assets could leave you unable to rely on government funding for your care. Long-term care is incredibly expensive, and just a few years of care can drain your estate, leaving your children with nothing. But if you plan ahead, you may be able to avoid this outcome. By transferring assets strategically, you may be able to rely on Medicaid for your care expenses.

As you look at your portfolio of assets, know that there’s a chance that fees and taxes could chip away at it over time. You can talk to your attorney about strategies you can use to limit the loss of your estate to fees.

Thinking About Your Philanthropic Legacy

How do you want people to talk about you after you’re gone, and how do you want your name to be remembered? A legacy of giving could keep your name alive for decades or even centuries. You may want to talk to your attorney about establishing charitable foundations, creating a charitable trust, or maximizing how far your charitable donations go. For example, you may be able to use donor-advised funds to help charities make the most of your donations.

Ready to Start or Update Your Estate Plan? Call John H. Ruby & Associates

Whether you already have an estate plan or you’re ready to get started on one, let’s sit down and talk about your options. There are many tools we can use to craft an estate plan that honors your wishes and goals. Send us a message online or call us at 502-373-8044 to schedule a consultation with our team of Kentucky estate planning attorneys.