Your estate plan is the guide that your loved ones will follow when you pass away. While many adults have created an estate plan, many have not. It is prudent, especially if you have young children, to create an estate plan to ensure they are taken care of in the event you pass away or become incapacitated. The best time to do this, is now.
Choosing Who Will Raise Your Minor Children
You can name a guardian for your minor children as part of your estate plan. These individuals should be people you trust to raise your children as you would want them raised. These guardians should also be individuals who are physically, mentally, and emotionally willing and able to serve in this capacity.
Providing Financially for Your Children
In leaving assets to your minor children, establishing a trust for their benefit is often an intrigal part of an estate plan. This enables you to provide financially for your children until they attain an age when they are mature and capable of managing their own affairs. Some of your children may have specific needs that can be addressed in the trust.
It is also important to make sure your retirement and life insurance assets have the proper beneficiary designations so that they can benefit your children in the way you intend. Unfortunately, the lack of a good estate plan can often lead to tedious and expensive guardianship proceedings for your minor children if they inherit assets from you as their parents who have died.
Your estate plan is not a make-it-and-forget-it process. Instead, you need to review it as you have significant changes in your life, especially as your children get older and become adults. An estate plan created in a way that is intended minor children may not be the best plan when your children become adults. Reviewing and updating your estate plan over the years will ensure you will implement an estate plan that will benefit your children in the ways you intend.