Children are constantly changing and growing. They become more independent, they make mistakes, and they hopefully also find success; they have relationships and start their own families.
If you are a parent, you are likely already making frequent adjustments in relation to your child’s maturation. One area of adjustment you might overlook is your own estate plan. Amending an estate plan as a child ages can be critical for a few reasons.
Your child’s needs change
A young child needs different types of protection than a young adult may require. For instance, if you have a minor child, appointing a guardian who can provide consistent, full-time care can be a critical element of your estate plan. If your child is heading off to college or out of school and no longer requires a guardian, setting property aside for them can be more appropriate.
Other needs can change over time, as well. A child may need more medical care if they develop a severe condition, or they could require government assistance. These developments can change what and how parents provide for their child.
Your own priorities change
The things we want for our children, and our ability to provide for them can change as kids grow up.
Parents may want to control a child’s pursuit of an education, or mitigate the chance of a child’s financial mismanagement. On the other hand, an adult child who’s found great success and wealth might motivate a parent to make financial gifts to charitable organizations instead of to their progeny.
Your relationship changes
Sadly, some parents and children grow apart over time. Divorce, estrangement, and criminal misconduct can create familial rifts, as can religious beliefs, political differences, and conflicting lifestyles.
In response to these changes in a relationship, parents adjust what they leave, or do not leave in their wills for their children. Some parents may go so far as to disinherit a child, only to rethink that decision later. As such, updating a will to reflect relationship developments can be critical.
In light of the myriad ways children, parents, and their relationships change over time, parents would be wise to ensure their estate plan continues to align with their wishes and beliefs as children grow up.