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Estate Planning Trends: Generational Differences in Estate Planning

Believe it or not, your birthday probably has a big effect on how you think about estate planning. However, we are not talking astrology. A Scorpio with a moon in Gemini isn’t more likely to draft a Will than any other sign. But, think about it: if you were born in the 1950s, you came of age in a very different world than people born in the 1980s and 1990s. You had different opportunities when it came to building your career than your children and grandchildren have. You probably have an entirely different view of the world than someone born into a different generation! Thus, it’s no surprise that estate planning trends vary according to when a person was born, with each generation having a slightly different set of concerns.

No matter how old you are, however, the goal is ALWAYS the same – planning for your future and the future security of your family!  Here are some of the generational differences we see when it comes to estate planning:

How Do Estate Planning Trends Affect Different Generations?

Baby Boomers. The Baby Boomer generation is usually defined as people who were born between 1946 and 1964, and who grew up in the era following World War II. Today, most Boomers are either nearing retirement, or are already retired. Because of the robust economic conditions in which they came of age, and the fact that they have had a whole lifetime to accumulate wealth, Boomers own the largest financial share of any generation. Over the next couple of decades, they are expected to transfer huge sums of money to the next generation, making estate planning an immediate concern. When it comes to seeking professional advice, Boomers usually rely on established estate planning attorneys and financial advisors.

Generation X. Members of Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, are also known as the “Sandwich Generation.” While many Gen-Xers are raising their own children, they are also looking after their aging parents. Some of this generation’s biggest concerns when it comes to estate planning include guardianship of minor children, and how to care for incapacitated parents….their parent’s life insurance policies, ensuring the proper Powers of Attorney documents are in place so they can make medical and financial decisions for their parents, and what their role will be in the implementation of their parents’ estates.

Millennials. The Millennial generation is defined as people born from 1981 to 1996, and includes men and women who are in the early and mid-stages of their careers. Although young, it is never too early to begin estate planning. Many young people have more assets than they think and, in the case of an unexpected accident, it is important that they have made proper arrangements for their belongings, and their health care needs. Millennials are more likely to employ the help of online programs or DIY estate planning services to help them draft legal documents—a risk that older generations are much less likely to take and for a good reason!

Differences in Estate Planning Trends by Gender. Because women outlive men by several years, women are more likely to play a greater role in the disposition of assets. While, traditionally, women have not been as involved as men in answering important questions about estate planning, this balance has been shifting significantly.  It is important that women take an active role in ensuring their future security, as well as the security of their families.

To begin planning for your future—whatever generation you may belong to—do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Firm of Blanche D. Smith either by calling (936) 301-0111 or using the contact form below. We’ll meet you wherever you are in life, providing guidance and solutions to help you accomplish your goals and gain peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order.

Monique Hineline

Smith & Smith are very professional, informative, and relatable with examples and stories to ease the estate planning process. I had the best time at their lunch and learn. Even if you already have your estate planning in place I highly recommend attending a lunch and learn. Thanks Smith & Smith!