Throughout their lives, parents go to great lengths to ensure that their children are protected. The desire to keep one’s children safe and well-positioned in life is so strong that it often leads to worries about how children will stay protected when their parents are no longer alive.
Taking the time to have a properly prepared estate plan will give you confidence that your children will be taken care of when you die, whether they are young kids or grown-ups.
Ensuring That Your Will Protects Your Young Children
If you have young children, the most important aspect of your estate plan is to appoint a guardian to take care of your kids when you aren’t able to do so. If you feel it is in their best interests, it is also possible to appoint a different guardian for each of your children.
Choosing a suitable guardian requires thoughtful consideration of several variables, including your child-rearing priorities, your relationship with your potential guardian and their capability to serve as a parent, as well as the person’s own feelings about being a guardian. Relatives or close friends who share similar values with the parent are the most common choices for guardians, especially if they already know the children well.
Because children who are younger than 18 are not legally allowed to inherit your assets, you’ll also need to choose a financial guardian who can control the money and property you have left to them until they come of age. The financial guardian can be the same person as the physical guardian for the children, or it can be someone else.
Ensuring That Your Plan Protects Your Adult Children
If you are the parent of adult children, your will should set out ways that will let them inherit your assets in a manner that will be most suited to their circumstances. Sometimes this means leaving money in a trust, particularly if you feel that they are not yet capable of making wise decisions with their finances.
While it may seem fair to divide assets equally among all your children, it can occasionally make sense to provide the children with different shares. This can be the case, for example, if you have already made a substantial loan to help one of your children start a business. Spelling these decisions out in your will can provide clarity for your beneficiaries.
Another way to protect your children with your will is to be sure to appoint an executor for your will whom you trust to administer your assets as you intended. If you fail to appoint an executor, your children could become embroiled in arguments and court appearances to try to determine who should administer the estate. Take care of that issue for them.
Inheritance laws can be far more complicated than you might realize. An attorney who has extensive knowledge and experience in the area of estate planning will help you tailor your plan to meet the unique needs of your particular family and circumstances. Knowing that they are on your side can give you the peace of mind that your children will be protected even when you are no longer around to protect them yourself. If you have further questions or need assistance getting started, contact our Monticello estate planning law firm at 763-244-2949 to schedule a consultation.