Estate Planning in Your 50’s


Below is an excerpt from Haley Modlin’s blog post on estate plans:

If you’re like most people you have a “set it and forget it” mindset when it comes to estate planning. You set up plans and documents years ago but haven’t looked at them since. Or, maybe you don’t have them set up at all. Knowing when to update your estate plan is a key part of making sure that your wishes will be fulfilled when the time comes. It can also provide clarity for ones who are left to fulfill those wishes.  There are many events that could trigger the need for updating your estate plan.

Some of the possible events include: (read more)


  • If you are in your 50’s then you are likely at or approaching the age where your children are in college or have graduated. The estate plan that you may have put in place when those children were born, likely needs some tweaking now that they are young adults.
  • Your 50’s is also a time when many may see some of their higher earning years. If you are also charitably inclined, there are opportunities to add tax flexibility with a donor-advised fund.


  • If not in place already, have an estate plan drafted. If you have one in place, it may not have been updated in years or may only have your “Last Will & Testament” (Will), but you never put Power of Attorney documents in place in the event you aren’t able to make decisions on your own. Go ahead and take care of this now while you still can.
  • Meet with a fee-only financial advisor to discuss your charitable and tax planning to take advanced steps toward your overall estate planning.

College student in your family?

Here is an excerpt from an article that discusses estate planning tips for those with children headed off to college or already in college:

“College students. The Triangle area is home to tens of thousands of college students. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill enrolled almost 5,000 undergraduates in the fall of 2015. Duke University enrolled nearly 6,500. North Carolina State University enrolled about 5,400. Considering existing enrollees, graduate schools, and residency programs—the students in this region contribute to a significant portion of the population. Although an estate plan is likely the farthest task on a college student’s agenda, having powers of attorney in place can help to provide peace of mind to the student to ensure that a parent or trusted person will be authorized to handle healthcare and financial matters expediently in the event of a debilitating accident or injury. Without proper documents, a parent or guardian might need to petition the court for authority over healthcare and financial decisions; this can be an expensive and lengthy process, and any delay in having a guardian appointed might be detrimental in a medical crisis. Another consideration that almost all college students must manage is student loan debt. A regularly updated estate plan can be crafted with asset protection in mind if a student is concerned about creditors post-college.”

Selling Your Business Soon?

Before you sell, consider your estate plan especially if it includes charitable gifting. You may be able to coordinate the sale of your business and simultaneously donate some of the proceeds to charity. This will help achieve your estate planning goals while improving your tax situation.


  1. Blog: As Your Young Adults Leave for College, Add a Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive to the Packing List
  2. Video: Maximize the sale of your business
  3. Blog: Who Needs an Estate Plan (For those with college students)

*As financial planners we do not create estate planning documents as these legal documents should be handled by an estate planning attorney. Our job is to provide education to our clients around estate planning issues and provide a recommendation on ways to align their finances with their estate planning goals and work with their estate planning attorney where necessary.

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