As parents of young children, you have some difficult decisions to make when it comes to estate planning. The thought of you and your spouse not being there for your children is probably terrifying. You might have difficulty even entertaining the thought, but even more troublesome should be the lack of a proper plan. Below are some estate planning decisions that you should consider when it comes to your underaged children.
Who Should Be Their Guardian
If you and your spouse both become deceased, who should care for your children. This is by far one of the most difficult of the estate planning decisions for parents. As you evaluate different people in your life, consider the following:
- Location – Will your children be physically uprooted from their current lives?
- Lifestyle – Are they prepared to take on the responsibility of being parents to your children? Do they have the time and resources to do so?
- Finances – Do they have sound financial judgement to manage your estate until your children become adults?
- Desire – Do they want your children?
- Personality & Beliefs – Will they raise your children in a manner acceptable to your own preferences and beliefs?
The decision is never easy and it often involves more than selecting someone that loves your children.
How Will Your Assets Be Transferred
Another important consideration is how to transfer the assets to your children. If you do not have a trust or other legal mechanism in place, assets will be managed by a court-appointed guardian. Once your children turn 18, they will receive complete control of those assets. This may not be ideal if you have more specific preferences.
For instance, you may want to limit the use of assets to prevent them from being quickly depleted. Perhaps you would like them slowly released at different stages of your children’s lives to cover higher education or other milestones. There are many options available to honor your wishes, depending on what they are. This is where working with an Estate Planning attorney is most beneficial.
Assistance with Estate Planning Decisions for Parents
At Simmons and Schiavo, we understand the difficulty of planning for your children’s future. We are parents ourselves. Before making any recommendations, we first take the time to review the complexities of your estate and to evaluate your personal preferences.
If higher education expenses is one of your goals, we may recommend a 529 Plan. If you have disabled dependents, a Special Needs Trust may be the right option for you. Our team will carefully explain your options and help you create a plan that fits your particular needs. We will also continually work with you to adapt the plan to important changes in your life. Contact us to schedule a consultation and receive help with estate planning decisions for parents.