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Special Considerations for Parents of Minor Children

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Estate planning is important for everyone, but it is especially important for parents with young children. No one likes to think about the possibility of leaving their children, but statistically, it could happen. By creating an estate plan, you can ensure that your children will be taken care of financially and emotionally in the event of your death or incapacity.

There are a number of important things to consider when your estate plan includes young children, including:

  • Naming a guardian. If you and your spouse die, someone will need to take care of your children. You should name a guardian in your Will who you trust to raise your children in accordance with your values. This might be a family member or trusted friend, but either way, wouldn't it be better for you to make this decision now than for a probate court to be left to figure it out?

  • Creating a trust. A trust can be a helpful way to manage your children's inheritance. A trust can provide for your children's needs while they are minors, and it can also protect your children's inheritance from creditors and lawsuits. You can ask an attorney whether a living trust or a testamentary trust is better for your financial situation.

  • Designating a health care proxy and durable power of attorney. A health care proxy is someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself. A durable power of attorney is someone you trust to manage your finances if you are unable to manage them yourself. Your minor child cannot make decisions for you in the event of an emergency.

  • Updating your estate plan regularly. Your estate plan should be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in your life, such as the birth of children, the death of a spouse, or a change in your financial situation. Particularly as your children grow and become adults, the way you treat them in your estate plan has a big impact.

If you have young children, it is important to get started on estate planning today. By creating an estate plan, you can give your children the gift of peace of mind knowing that they will be taken care of in the event of your death or incapacity.

A man playing checkers with a young boy

Here are some additional tips for estate planning for parents with young children:

  • Be specific. When naming a guardian and other fiduciaries, be as specific as possible. For example, you may want to name a specific person as guardian, or you may want to name a group of people (such as your siblings) and specify that they must agree on a guardian before making a decision.

  • Consider your children's special needs. If your children have special needs, you may want to consider creating a special needs trust. A special needs trust can provide for your children's needs without disqualifying them from government benefits.

  • Get professional help. Estate planning can be complex, so it is important to get professional help from an attorney who specializes in estate planning. While you can draft documents using an online service, that service probably cannot offer you legal advice. An attorney can help you create an estate plan that meets your specific needs and goals. Often this is done in cooperation with your accountant or financial planner.

Do not wait to plan. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow, but we can make good decisions today. Call, text, or email my office to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience!

This post created with assistance from Bard, an AI solution from Google.

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