People are living longer and longer than they used to. While that is a great thing, it is beginning to cause issues for many estate plans, especially when trusts are involved.
It used to be that most people received their inheritances from their parents when they were in their 40s and 50s. Now, however, with people routinely living into their 80s and 90s, many children do not receive an inheritance from their parents until they are in their 60s and 70s themselves.
This causes many problems with estates, especially with trusts set up decades ago, as Barron’s reports in an article titled “When Longevity Upends Trusts.”
The biggest issue is that the children are not receiving the inheritances when they need them the most. Instead, they get the inheritances when they’ve already reared their own families and perhaps even retired.
This can cause family tensions.
One solution to the problem is for the parents to make more use of the gift tax exemption and give to their children when the money is needed. However, with parents living longer it can be difficult to judge just how much money they need to keep for their own expenses.
Consequently, estate plans need to take into account expected lifetimes.
If your estate plan contains a trust created decades ago, you should contact an experienced estate planning attorney. You may want to revisit your estate plan to account for the expected increase in your longevity.
Reference: Barron’s (November 29, 2014) “When Longevity Upends Trusts“