Any parent will tell you that the birth (or adoption) of a child shifts the nature of your thinking irrevocably. One day you look around and discover that your own wants and needs are no longer at the center of your life. We see evidence of this shift when planning for parents of young children, who come to us because they want to know how to protect and provide for their kids should anything happen to them (the parents).
It turns out; this instinctual drive to protect and provide for our offspring may be the easier part of parenting, according to this article in today’s New York Times. The hard part may be finding time to protect and provide for your own needs, and the needs of your marriage. The article, which is actually about empty-nesters, cites research that indicates that as much as we love our children, “marital satisfaction actually improves once the children make their exits,” whether it be to college, marriage, or employment and independence.
What is interesting about this article from an estate planning perspective is that these two milestones—having children and watching them leave the nest—are the most important times to update your estate plan. The needs of your children when they are 2, 6 or 10 won’t be the same as their needs at the age of 20 or 30. Not only that, but your priorities as a parent and a person will be different as well: As a parent of young children your top priorities are likely to be guardianship and providing for your child’s education and well-being; as an empty-nester you may be more concerned with protecting your retirement or beginning to plan for Long Term Care.
A good estate plan is one that reflects your priorities during each stage of your life. Our firm understands that, and we urge you to contact us when any of these milestones come along.