Planning an estate plan is more than just ensuring that your assets are distributed to the appropriate heirs. Estate plans are also key to safeguarding the care of your children should you no longer have the ability to do so. As a parent, it is your responsibility to provide your children with love, nurturing, guidance and care as they grow up. But what happens when you are no longer able to play this key role? Without an estate plan to outline the key ways this will occur, the decision could be left up to the court system. This can pose a number of problems, not only will you have little say in what happens to your children; they may actually end up being cared for by someone that you would never have chosen.
Should you pass away, your young children will likely be confused and fearful over what will become of them. No child should be forced to worry over where they will live and who will take care of them after you are gone. Grieving your loss is enough. Making sure that you have a plan that outlines their care is critical, especially as a parent of young children.
Assign a Guardian
One of the most important steps to creating an estate plan as a parent, is to identify a guardian who will care for your children. It’s important to carefully consider the available options. Make sure that you identify someone who is up for this great responsibility, whose beliefs and parenting style aligns with your own and whom you can trust. When assigning a guardian, make sure that you communicate your wishes directly to them. Ask them if they are willing to care for your children should you no longer be able to. This can ensure that the person you identify is available to take on the responsibility of doing so. It’s also a good idea to identify a few back ups in case the first person you have chosen is no longer willing or able to care for your children.
Custodian to Manage Property
Under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA), you have the ability to identify a custodian to manage property your child stands to inherit once they reach adulthood. In the event of your passing, this person can assume responsibility of the property until your child is able to do so.
Consider Trust Accounts
As a parent, you are responsible for making sure that they are financially taken care of. No parent wants their child to not have their basic needs met. Financial planning is a key component to the estate planning process. An estate attorney can help you to set up trust accounts for your children. During the process of setting up trust accounts for each child, a trustee is identified to oversee the trust. The trustee will be responsible for carrying out your instructions regarding the trust and making decisions based on the best interest of the child.
Does an estate plan feel like too much to face? This is not an uncommon response from people. Creating a plan for how your children will be cared for in the event of your death isn’t something people want to face. However, in doing so, you can safeguard the care of your children, and give yourself the voice you deserve to have during the process. Contact an estate planning lawyer today for help in completing what some may feel like an overwhelming experience.