Preserve Your Legacy

Estate Planning | Elder Law | Special Needs Planning


Young Children & Inheritance Planning

There are those who proceed from the standpoint that estate planning is not something that younger people need to be concerned about, but the matter does not revolve exclusively around age. It is true that the possibility of death increases as you get older, but people of all ages die every day. The purpose of estate planning is to make preparations for the well being of your family if you were to pass away. It is not something you engage in because you expect to pass away at some point in the near future.

This having been stated, as soon as there are other people relying on you financially an estate plan becomes necessary. For most people this stage of life will begin when they get married and buy their first house. The income replacement vehicle that has always been recommended for young couples is life insurance, and it is a good idea to think long term when you are deciding on the level of coverage you need. Once you have children you take on an additional layer of responsibility, and at that point your inheritance plan becomes all the more important.

An estate planning vehicle that is very commonly used by parents with young children is the testamentary trust. Everyone has heard of the “last will and testament,” and these two terms essentially describe the same document. So the testamentary trust is a trust that is contained within a will. To protect your children should you and your spouse die together in an accident you make the trust the second beneficiary of your life insurance policies and you name a trustee.

The trustee will be administering the trust for its duration so you need to select someone who is willing to make a long term commitment. You set the term as you see fit, but of course the children must be legal adults before they can assume ownership of the trust assets. In this manner your children are provided for financially, and there is a safeguard in place because the trustee will have to appear before the probate court periodically so that the trust administration can be reviewed.