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When Kids Go to College, Parents Ought to Update Estate Plans

published 10/8/2015

When your children are little, the big concern in estate planning is making sure the right person will raise them if something happens to the parents.Woman student waving

Moms and dads spend a lot of time thinking about the best person to appoint as a guardian in a worst-case scenario. But with the candles extinguished on the 18th birthday cake, that whole calculus changes. Guardians aren’t relevant anymore.

As recently outlined in The Huffington Post, college-bound children present a whole different set of estate planning concerns. Now new questions come to mind. For instance:

  • How financially prudent are your children?

  • If you die, what kind of inheritance will they receive — and are they ready for it?

  • Can you trust your kids to make wise decisions about their health, finances, and future?

After all, you don’t have as much control over their affairs as you once did. If that fact leaves you feeling uneasy, you aren’t alone. In modern times, most parents worry that their not-yet-20-year-olds aren’t quite ready for “the real world.”

Fortunately, there are things we can do in the world of estate planning to make that transition less uncertain. Trusts, for example, can be very helpful.

Strategically drafted trusts can ensure that your now-grown children will still be provided for should you pass away unexpectedly (and they’ll also be protected from their financial inexperience). We can also use trusts to protect your children’s inheritance from their creditors.

You might even want to consider talking with your kids (err— adults) about creating estate plans of their own. They might not have families or significant assets of their own yet, but they still stand to benefit from a strong set of power of attorney documents.

At Bixler Moore, LLC, we understand how nerve-wracking the transition from high school to college can be — not only for the students but also (and especially) for the parents! That first drive to the university can be special for everyone involved. Savor it. But on the way back home, maybe Mom and Dad ought to talk a little about Estate Plan 2.0.

If you have questions, please give us a call. We’re here to help.

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