Important Milestones You Can Incorporate in Your Estate Plan
Life is full of contingencies. While some outcomes are relatively certain, other events are more difficult to predict. This uncertainty can create estate planning challenges. Because life changes quickly and sometimes unexpectedly, your estate plan needs to be flexible.
You can make changes to your estate plan when you are still alive, but when you pass away, your plan is effectively—but not entirely—set in stone. Incorporating milestones into your estate plan is one way to hedge against the unpredictable future. By creating incentives for particular events, you can continue to exercise your values and provide for your loved ones beyond your lifetime.
Clarifying Your Wishes with If-Then Statements
If-then statements allow outcomes to be determined with conditions. They are found in deductive logic, computer programming, and legal documents, including estate planning documents.
The premise of an if-then statement is simple: if a given criteria is met, then a certain action follows. For example, you might write in your will that, “If my spouse predeceases me, then I leave my house to my oldest son,” or, “If both my spouse and I pass away, then [Person X] will be nominated as guardian of our children.”
Such clauses can help you retain some power over outcomes that would otherwise be out of your control. They can also help you to plan for future contingencies in a way that is not possible with simple declarative statements (e.g., “I leave my house to my spouse.”).
If-then clauses can be combined to account for numerous future possibilities. So, in addition to “If my spouse predeceases me, then I leave my house to my oldest son,” you could specify that “If my son […]