Estate planning is no longer about just death and death taxes, Seth Kaplan and Josh Goldglantz point out in Financial Advisor magazine. That’s particularly the case with Generation X (those born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s). Just some of the issues Gen Xers have to contemplate, the authors point out, include:

  • Protection from potential claims by creditors
  • Personal income tax planning
  • Access to social media accounts
  • Digital assets, including domain names, email accounts, and bitcoins

Technology has everything to do with complicating Gen Xers’ affairs, as “social media have significantly changed the way we live and communicate with others”, Kaplan and Goldglantz add.

Access during the “virtual afterlife”:

  • Social media accounts often contain personal messages, photos, videos and other information of an extremely private nature.
  • Social media websites have strict privacy policies that bar even family members from having access to the accounts

Determination of assets:

  • With so much banking and bill payment happening online, it has become difficult for executors to determine the extent of a person’s assets after he or she dies.
  • Email services have strict user agreements protecting privacy of the accounts

A person may be in possession of far more digital assets than they realize, as this can include everything from music to movies and books purchased over the Internet, say the attorneys of the New York law firm of Connors & Sullivan. 

Despite all these unique issues, “Gen X and Millennials often times consider estate planning to be unnecessary, because they believe they do not have enough assets to justify going through the estate planning process,” Courtney Babiak of Illinois’ Peterman Financial Group observes.

Thinking that dying only happens to old people is a stumbling block when trying to get younger folks to think about estate planning, quips Boston Certified Financial Planner Dee Lee. “No generation gets out of this world alive,” she warns.

At Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, our lawyers advise members of different generations (and often advise several generations within a single family). We’re keenly aware that unique issues face GenXers.  We know estate planning for Generation X is no simple matter! 
– by  Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer blog team