Plan Your Estate While Still "Mentally Spry"

I recently read an article by Chris Farrell in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that brought up a very good point when it comes to retirement and estate planning.  Mr. Farrell correctly stated, "It's critical for an aging population to get its financial affairs in order while still mentally spry."  He further states, "Our faculties do eventually deteriorate even if it's typically later in life."  Click here to read his article, "Do Not Go Unprepared into that Good Night."

The article resonated with me as an estate planning attorney because a common scenario is an adult child calling an attorney on behalf of their elderly parent(s) in order to get estate planning in place prior to death.  The elderly parent may still be legally competent to make a Will, but it is difficult to assess whether the parent would make the same plans and provisions for disposition had they planned earlier.  

They may recognize that having estate planning is important, but may not put as much detailed thought into their plan as they would have had they set up the plan years ago.  It may also be more difficult to understand the complexities and consequences of their plans if made at an advanced age.  This is not to say that the elderly aren't perfectly capable of making well-reasoned and thought out estate plans.  However, the odds are that those decisions could be better made while more "mentally spry" - as Mr. Farrell states.  Estate plans can always be updated later if circumstances change.

Something to think about...