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Estate Planning for Gen-X

estate planning for generation x in Virginia

Generation X is sometimes referred to as “the forgotten generation.” They are the generation that is sandwiched between the Baby Boomers and Millennials, born between the years of 1965 in 1980. Today, Gen-Xers are in their 40s and 50s, and many of their kids are starting to become adults. Being middle-aged, members of this generation may be experiencing a mid-life crisis, but they probably aren’t thinking too much about their mortality quite yet.

Like the Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers, in general, believe that they are going to live forever. And because the Boomers are still largely in the spotlight (note that the last two Presidents are Boomers who were well past the standard retirement age of 65 when they took office), many Gen-Xers are still waiting for their time to shine.

While Gen-Xers still have a lot of life ahead of them, this does not mean they should overlook the need to prepare for the end game. The ideal time for estate planning is when you are younger and healthier and when you have time to think everything through.

Estate Planning Issues for Generation X

Here are some of the things that Gen-Xers should consider when putting together an estate plan:

Caring for Minor Children

While a lot of the children of Gen-Xers have reached adulthood, many are still minors. If you have minor children and something were to happen to you, whoever becomes their guardian will be among the most consequential factors that shapes their future direction. One of the things you can do with a Last Will and Testament is to designate someone you trust to become the guardian for your children. In the absence of a will, the decision on who raises your minor children is left to the courts, and there is no guarantee that the court will pick the person you would want.

Transferring Assets and Property

Some members of Generation X have accumulated a substantial amount of wealth, while many others lead middle-class lives. Wherever you fall on the wealth spectrum, it is important to have an estate plan in place that ensures that your assets and property are transferred smoothly to the heirs that you choose. This can be accomplished with a will, but if you have a significant amount of assets and/or unique assets such as a business, then a trust might be a better option. Without an estate plan, your property is passed on to your nearest relatives in accordance with Virginia Intestate Succession laws.

Business Succession Planning

Speaking of businesses, many Gen-Xers are entrepreneurs. But have you thought about who you want to take over your business after you are gone? You may not be planning on retiring for several years, but an untimely death or unexpected health condition could significantly alter your timetable. If you have a thriving business that you want to remain successful once you are out of the picture, now is the time to put together a business succession plan.

Transferring Digital Assets

When you are thinking about transferring your assets and property, don’t forget about your digital assets. Some of these assets may be quite valuable. For example, many Gen-Xers have online businesses, while others have stock trading and cryptocurrency accounts. Virtually everyone has social media accounts, and while they may not have any monetary value, it is still important who manages them once you are no longer able to.

Planning for Incapacitation

Life expectancies in the United States have increased significantly over the past couple of generations. In 1950, the average life expectancy for Americans was 68. As of 2022, it has increased to 79. It is great news that we can expect to live more than a decade or longer on average than our predecessors, but a longer life also means a higher chance of contracting a debilitating health condition that could leave us incapacitated.

To prepare for the possibility of incapacitation, speak with your estate planning lawyer about designating a Power of Attorney for both financial and healthcare decisions. This can be the same person, or you can designate a separate person for each area. It is also important to create an Advance Health Care Directive that provides specific instructions on which medical procedures you want to be performed and which ones you do not want if you are no longer in a position to make that decision.

Contact a Skilled and Knowledgeable Virginia Estate Planning Lawyer

Although Gen-Xers may have a long way to go before they plan to retire and live out their golden years, it is still very important for them to plan for a worst-case scenario. For help with your estate plan in Virginia, contact Buck, Toscano & Terezkerz in Charlottesville for the legal guidance you need. Call our office today at (434) 977-7977 or send us an online message to set up a personalized consultation with one of our attorneys.

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