4 Estate Planning Considerations for your little Trick or Treaters
By Kathy McNair, Esq.
Many parents are busy getting their children ready for Halloween. They will spend plenty of time helping them plan for this fun and exciting day.
It is a great time to remember how important it is to also have an estate plan in place, in the event that you are not around to care for your minor children. Most parents don't want to think about this. Having a plan in place for your children is critical to ensure that your wishes are known.
Parents of young children must think about the following issues when planning their estates:
1. Who will be the Guardian of your minor children? All parents hope to live to see their children grow into adults. However, we cannot predict the future. It is important to consider who would care for your children if you die before they turn 18.
Nominating a guardian for your minor children, is one of the hardest decisions for any parent to make. Please consider the following when making this decision:
The age and health of the person you nominate- If you choose a grandparent, will they have the physical ability to care for your children. If not, can they hire a care giver to help them?
The family composition- If you choose someone with children of their own., how will your own children fit into this picture?
Physical location- If the person that you are considering nominating as Guardian lives in another state or city, how will this affect your children.
2. Who will make financial decisions for your children? You must also nominate a Conservator to manage the money that you will leave to your children, until they turn 18. This is often the person that you nominate as Guardian, but it does not need to be the same person.
3. Establishing a trust for Minor Children: We recommend that our clients with minor children establish a trust to hold the money for the children until the children reach an age (determined by the parents) when they are likely to be ready to manage money responsibly. The parents designate a Trustee to manage the money for the children. The trust money can be used for their needs, such as housing, food, clothing, education, travel, etc.. Without a trust in place, the children will be able to manage the funds beginning at the age of 18. Most parents would prefer that a responsible adult continue to manage the money, until a later time.
4. Life Insurance: Term life insurance is often critical to ensure that your children have enough money to provide for their needs, even if you are not around.
Many parents don't have an estate plan in place. Chances are that you will live to see your children grow into adults and will probably meet your grandchildren. However, as parents we need to make sure that our children will be provided and cared for even if we aren't here. You will never find a guardian to nominate that will be as good of a parent as you. If you don't make this decision and the unforeseen happens, a judge will make it for you. By planning, you ensure that your wishes are known.
We are here to discuss your estate planning needs, including planning for minor children.
Senior Solutions Attorneys at Law, 30 Church Street, Suite 210, Belmont, MA 02478