Estate planning for minor children is one of, if not, the most important reason to plan now. Without a plan, the government makes the decisions for you and your children.
If you want to control your children’s inheritance, you need to do so now.
If you want to choose who will raise your children, you need to choose now.
If you want to choose who will manage your legal, financial, and personal affairs if incapacity strikes, you need to now.
If you want to choose who will manage your healthcare if incapacity strikes, you need to choose now.
If you want to choose dignity, you need to choose now.
And, you need to wrap it all up in a legally effective plan.
What happens if you don’t have an estate plan?
- A Judge will decide who will raise your children without your input or considering your wishes. Potentially family and friends could fight over the custody arrangements decided by the Judge. In the worst case, your children may end up in Foster Care whether temporarily or permanently.
- A Judge will decide who manages your assets (for your and your children’s benefit) without your input or considering your wishes.
- A Judge will decide who will control your children’s inheritance. Again, without your input. Your minor children can’t inherit directly. Family and friends may fight over who controls the money.
- You children will get their inheritance at 18 or 21 years of age, without control or conditions.
Create a Will. In you Will you can list the people you want to raise your children if you can’t. You can also use a Will to create a Trust to manage their inheritance and name who will manage it.
However, Wills don’t provide any lifetime protection. Wills only take affect after a person passes away.
Create a Power of Attorney. Incapacity strikes without warning. Accidents, and emergency medical incidents often occur without warning and leave parents incapacitated or worse. You can also name somebody to temporarily take care of your children until you are better.
Consider setting up a Revocable Living Trust as a great step for estate planning with minor children. With a revocable living trust, you decide how the inheritance is handled, who manages it, and when your children can have their inheritance and under what conditions. And, none of the assets in the trust must go through Probate or have a Judge decide their fate.