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Who You Should Think About when Making Your Estate Plan

Jan. 14, 2018

When we talk about creating a will or updating your estate plan, we often discuss doing so in the context of protecting your loved ones. That can lead people to start thinking about who truly will be affected by their plans.

Who are the loved ones you are working to protect? Are there others you need to think about when it comes to your estate plan? In this post, we will look at a personal element of planning: the people in your life.

Your Children

No matter how old your children are, they can benefit from your estate plans. Planning can ensure they receive specific heirlooms or inheritances; it can establish financial incentives to achieve certain goals; it can protect assets that might otherwise go to a spouse who is not their parent.

Your Spouse

Handling financial matters and medical decisions after death or incapacitation can be devastating for a grieving spouse. You can provide critical relief, direction and support for your spouse by having a clear estate plan in place.

Your Siblings and Other Close Relatives

These are the parties who often wind up fighting over the terms of a will or trust, so providing them direction can be helpful in preserving familial relationships. You might also assign one of these parties as a guardian of your children, or you might decide to exclude an estranged relative altogether. Having clear directions in your estate plan can prevent bitter, contentious disputes.


As discussed in this MarketWatch article, an estate plan is just as much about your needs as it is about your loved ones’ needs. Your estate plan is an essential part of getting the care and support you need if you become incapacitated. Tools like living wills, powers of attorney and revocable living trusts can all protect your best interests and prioritize your needs.

Considering all the people affected by an estate plan, it would be a costly mistake to ignore it. As such, you would be wise to consult an attorney who can help you create a plan that allows you to protect your children, your spouse, your relatives and yourself.