Kathy L. McNair, Esq.
Four Tips for Estate Planning for Parents of Young Children
This holiday season you have done everything possible to make it a special time for your children. They are the most important people in your life and you plan to be there for them always— watching them grow into adults, sending them off into the world, and hopefully meeting your grandchildren. However, life is uncertain, and while it hard to think about, you should take steps to ensure that your children will be protected, in the event something unforeseen happens to you before they are grown.
Many parents with children, like myself, have limited time and resources, and therefore, estate planning is often last on the “to-do list”. However, without an estate plan in place, if something happens to you, your wishes will be unknown.
Here are a few important tips for consideration:
1. Plan ahead
Perhaps you finally reached the milestone where you and your spouse are ready for a vacation without the kids. You’ve booked your flight, packed your bags, and left instructions for the babysitter—then the panic sets in.
“What if something happens to us on vacation?” In our office, we try to be accommodating if you are in a rush, but estate planning isn't something you can do the afternoon before you leave for your trip. Ideally, you should plan a few weeks in advance.
2. Think carefully about your guardian nominations
Who would you want to care for your children if you cannot? This is one of the most difficult decisions that you will ever make. You will never find the perfect person to care for your children, but it is important to make your wishes known. In deciding who to nominate, you should think about the following:
Who will be caring for them? Are they healthy enough and willing to assume the responsibility until your children are adults?
Where will they live and who else will be in the household? Will they be near other relatives and support?
Who will be making important health and education decisions? Do they share your values?
Who will manage the money that you leave for your children? At what point and under what circumstances will you want your children to assume financial responsibility for themselves?
Who would take over if those you nominated could no longer care for your children?
3. Keep it Simple
Estate planning ranges from simple to complicated. If you don't have anything in place at the moment, start with a simple plan, Once you get older or have more assets you can consider more advanced planning. In our office, we offer a flat fee package for families with young children of $1,750 for a married couple and $1,000 for a single person, which includes a will, health care proxy, durable power of attorney, and family trust (excluding estate tax planning).
4, Review and refresh your estate plan as needed
As life goes on, the family dynamic may change—births, deaths, marriage, divorce, disability—just to name a few. Your financial circumstances may also change. In Massachusetts, we currently have an estate tax for those who die with more than $1 million in assets (except if you are leaving the money to your spouse). In the future it is a good idea to check back with your attorney to determine if changes need to be made.
I know that estate planning is tough to think about, but you should put it on your “to-do” list. Make a resolution in 2022 to make your estate plan a priority. It is one of the most important things you can do for your family and for your own peace of mind.
If you are a grandparent, perhaps you can consider paying for your adult child's estate plan as a gift. Raising a family is expensive. As important as estate planning is, sometimes families don't make it a high priority in their family budget.
If you are ready to take the next step, please call our office at 617-489-5900 or schedule a brief free consultation or by clicking: https://seniorsolutions.as.me/FreeConsult
Senior Solutions, Attorneys at Law, is an Estate Planning and Elder Law firm, serving the Greater Boston, Massachusetts area, since 2001. We are ready to help you with Medicaid Planning, Estate Planning, Probate, Guardianship & Conservatorships, Special Needs Trusts, and Fiduciary Services