Estate planning for each stage in life

BY Sarah Rosioli,Steve McCabe

Everyone needs an estate plan that takes into account their current circumstances and stage of their life. Estate planning is not a one-and-done process.

College-aged persons

As your college-bound child prepares for the new chapter in their life, parents need to remember that they will no longer be able to assist their child with financial and medical matters by simply being the mom and dad. While you may not fully recognize that your 18-year-old is an adult, the law does.

Three documents to prepare your child for college

Single persons

Single people often think they do not need an estate plan. However, because the law is not structured to benefit single people without children, it is critical that people in this position create an estate plan.

Why do single people need an estate plan?

Engaged couples

Prenuptial agreements used to be thought of for the wealthy or famous, but are becoming increasingly popular among “ordinary” couples. Prenuptial agreements can offer certain protections and planning opportunities. In addition, unlike the inheritance protections in place for a married couple, there are none in place for an engaged couple.

Prenuptial agreements and relationship contracts
Inheritances and the engaged and separated

Newly married couples

Marriage may impact an individual’s estate plan in unanticipated ways that are worth considering. With the joining of two lives, it’s a good time for a financial review too.

Massachusetts: wills and wedding bells
Just married! It’s time for a financial check-up

Separated and divorced persons

While divorce may trigger automatic inheritance protections, the same is not true for those who are separated (but no divorce decree has been issued). During a separation and after a divorce, it’s a good time to review your beneficiary designations as well.

Inheritances and the engaged and separated
Designating beneficiaries


When parents of young children design their estate plans, they are likely to be focused on guardian selection and financial planning for education needs. As their children and grandchildren mature, parents and grandparents may want to turn their estate planning focus to inheritance protection from your creditors and a divorcing spouse.

Choosing a guardian for your children
Talking to your parents and grandparents about their estate plans and when to say no to an inheritance

Taking care of others in your estate plan

Regardless of your stage in life, there may be loved ones in your life that you want to make sure are taken care of.

Taking care of elderly parents in your estate plan
Wealth planning for children with special needs
Estate planning for your pets

As you can see, changes in your personal life will likely impact your estate plan. Accordingly, throughout your life, you should revisit your plan to make sure it meets your current wishes and the needs of your loved ones.

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