Often overshadowed by the generations preceding and following them, members of Generation X need an estate plan just as much as any other group. In the past couple weeks we have looked at estate planning issues of special importance to both millennials and baby boomers, so today we thought we would focus on Generation X.
As with any discussion about large groups of people, your individual needs and desires might differ significantly from those of your peers. Nevertheless, there are some specific issues with which members of Generation X need to be familiar as they go about the process of crafting an estate plan that will protect them, their families, and their interests.
Generation X Estate Plans: Caring for Young Children
Many members of Generation X are in the midst of raising a family. As they go about the day-to-day duties of raising children, a lot of estate planning issues can be shunted aside or completely forgotten about. Yet crafting a plan that protects your children is absolutely essential.
One of the most important things you can do as a Generation X parent is create an estate plan that names a guardian who will take over parenting responsibilities in the event you and your child’s other parent die or become incapacitated. Similarly, you need a plan that will provide inheritance provisions that recognize the fact that young children cannot legally own property until they come of age, as well as include tools that will provide those children with financial protections should you no longer be around to make an income.
Generation X Estate Plans: Divorce and Remarriage
Many members of Generation X are going through a divorce or are already on a second, or subsequent marriage. Any significant change in marital status should require you to update your estate plan as necessary. The changes you might have to make will likely include updates to your inheritance choices, as well as choosing someone other than your former spouse as your representative under your powers of attorney or advance medical directives.
Generation X Estate Plans: Incapacitation
Speaking of advance medical directives, all estate plans crafted by Generation X members need to include specific tools that address the possibility of incapacitation. Even though Gen X members are far less likely to become incapacitated as the result of age for serious medical conditions when compared to their older baby boomer counterparts, the possibility is always there. As such, you need to be prepared to pass on your financial management and medical decision-making responsibilities to representatives of your choice by having the appropriate estate planning tools made. Similarly, you will also want to include tools that give your representative directions about the kinds of choices you want made on your behalf if and when you lose the ability to manage our own affairs.