While all adults need comprehensive up-to-date estate planning, the parents of young children have additional considerations and complexity. Here are 6 estate planning tips for the parents of young children; if you have additional questions or concerns, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.
1. Write a Love Letter
The most important inheritance you can provide your children is your love; document it in a way that is a good fit for you. For example, put your words down in a letter, make a photo album or a scrap book, or film a video.
2. Make a Specific Gift
In your will, trust, or a personal memorandum, referenced in your will or trust, provide instruction for a specific gift of a special personal possession or family heirloom for each child. Jot down why that possession is special and why it’s being given to that particular child.
3. Appoint First Responders
Execute a first responder authorization which authorizes trusted friends and neighbors to stay with your children in the case of an emergency until named guardians arrive. This avoids your children being placed into protective custody (i.e. foster care.)
4. Name Lifetime Guardians in a Stand-By Guardian Designation
Because your will isn’t effective during your lifetime, the guardians you appoint in your will have no authority during your lifetime. To avoid the cost, hassle, and time delay of court interference, grant authority to those same guardians in a stand-by guardian designation. Not only does this prevent court interference, but it also prevents family discord and your children being placed into protective custody (i.e. foster care.)
5. Appoint Guardians in Your Will
Name guardians for your minor children in your will; be sure to ask their permission, first, and to name contingent guardians, as well.
6. Use a Trust
Minor children cannot legally inherit; therefore, use a revocable living trust with individual life-time trust shares for your children; you can provide financial guidance, prevent disinheritance, prevent disqualification from governmental assistance, protect against addictive disorders, and provide asset protection.
If you have any children under the age of 18, you need comprehensive estate planning, incorporating these 6 tips for the parents of young children. Consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.