As every parent knows, we cannot avoid tough decisions just because they make us uncomfortable. At some point — hopefully many, many years from now — we will die. And when we do, there is a real possibility that our children will still be minors and need someone to care for them. No one can make decisions about your child better than you, which is why you must have a plan in place to protect them and their future.
In my book, Who Gets Your Stuff When You Die, I focus the entirety of Chapter 8 on stuff to protect your children. Granted, there is a lot to unpack, but if we are only focusing on the basics, start by asking yourself these five simple questions.
1. Who will raise your children and make decisions for them if you cannot?
2. Who will instill in them the values you want passed onto them?
3. Who will provide for them financially or manage a trust if one is set up for them?
4. In many families, spouses may have been married previously. This can affect decisions about guardianship, and extra care may be needed to maintain relationships between siblings and stepparents. Who will handle this? And how?
5. If you are a single parent, a surviving biological parent would likely be named guardian unless proven to be unfit. That person may also be given control over the minor child’s inheritance until the child reaches 18. You can change this if you do not want that parent to have control. But do you have the proper documents in place for such a scenario?
Do not leave these matters to chance when it comes to your children
While asking yourself these questions can be scary and overwhelming, it is better to plan ahead. We can and should name the people we wish to raise our children in the event of our death or disability. A couple of additional points to consider are that the person who provides the hands-on care does not have to be the same person who manages your child’s money. You can specify this ahead of time. Also, it is wise to make contingency plans that cover the possibility of losing one or the other parent, as well as the possibility of losing both.
Talk to your estate planning attorney about any particular questions you have or provisions you would like to include regarding the care of your children. It will be the best decision you ever made.
Careful planning can help you have all your bases covered
At Leigh Hilton, PLLC, we want to be the resource in your back pocket and the voice in your ear who helps you be the hero that you are. Please call us so that we can help ensure your family will be taken care of in the best way possible. Proper planning of an estate, whether through a Will, Trust, or both, helps ensure your family is cared for.
Leigh Hilton PLLC wants to be your first call every time for any estate planning need. We look forward to serving you.
Thanks for reading!