Estate Planning For Young Families
Nobody expects to pass away while their family is young, but planning for this possibility is important and responsible. Estate planning shows your family how much you care about their futures. Not having a plan in place can ultimately have disastrous consequences for your family.
A good estate plan for young families will include naming an individual to administer the estate (an executor) and trust (a trustee), a guardian to care for minor children, providing instructions for the distribution of assets, as well as naming someone to manage the children’s inheritance until they reach an age of your choice. The plan will also include reviewing your insurance needs and planning for disability, if applicable.
Naming An Executor And Trustee
This individual is responsible for handling the following:
- Final financial affairs.
- Locating and valuing assets.
- Distributing assets appropriately.
- Locating and paying bills.
- Hiring attorney and other advisors.
Make sure this individual is someone you trust deeply to carry out your wishes. If you are married, this could be your spouse, for instance. You need to also consider successors to the initial person you wish to name to this role.
Naming A Guardian For Minor Children
In the event that something happens to one parent, the other parent will continue to raise the children unless he or she is physically or emotionally incapable of the task. Who will raise the children if something happens to both parents, though? Oftentimes, this is a very difficult decision for the parents to make. It is crucial to select a guardian, as the court must appoint someone if you have not selected an individual to take over child care.
Instructions For Distribution Of Assets
The majority of married couples want their assets to go to the surviving spouse if one passes away. If both parents pass away while the children are still young, they’ll want their assets to be used for the care of the children. Some assets can be transferred automatically to the surviving spouse by beneficiary designations and specifics of title. However, an estate plan is needed in the event the surviving spouse becomes disabled or passes away, so the assets can be used specifically for child care.
Naming Someone To Manage Children’s Inheritance
Unless this is included in your estate planning, the court will appoint an individual to oversee your children’s inheritance. In most cases, this will be a professional guardian who is a stranger to your family. This will also cost money, which will be paid out of the inheritance. The children will then receive their inheritance when they reach legal age (typically 18 years old).
Most parents prefer that their children inherit money when they are older and keep the money in a single “pot” so it can be used to care for the children’s different needs. Establishing this trust for your children’s inheritance lets you accomplish these goals and gives you the ability to select someone you trust to manage it. In some cases, this can be the same individual you select as a guardian, but that is not a requirement.
Reviewing Insurance Needs
Reviewing the amount of life insurance on both parents is another part of estate planning. Income earned by one or both parents needs to be replaced. In addition, one or more people would likely need to take over the responsibilities of a stay-at-home parent, if applicable. More coverage may be needed to provide for your children, especially if you wish to pay for their education beyond high school.
The possibility of one parent becoming disabled has to be accounted for. Both parents need healthcare powers of attorney that give someone else legal authority to make medical decisions for them if they are unable to do so. You would likely name your spouse to do this, but one or two successors should be named, as well.
A Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorization gives your medical providers permission to discuss your medical records with siblings, parents, and other close friends. Disability income insurance should also be considered in the event that life insurance does not pay for disability.
Finalizing The Estate Plan
Estate planning undoubtedly requires you to think about family relationships and make difficult decisions. An experienced estate planning attorney can help guide you through this process. If finances are tight, start with the most essential legal documents and term life insurance.
You can always update and upgrade your plan as your financial situation improves. It’s important not to postpone estate planning. Not having a plan can result in a worse financial state for your family, typically caused by court costs and delays. Once your plan is finally in place, you will have peace of mind knowing your family is protected if the unthinkable happens.
There’s nothing better than the peace of mind you will have knowing you’ve protected your family at a time when they need it most. Let us help. Schedule a consultation or contact Ogborne Law, PLC of Arizona today.
You’ve worked hard for your life, and you need to protect it. You owe it to your family and your legacy to take care of planning now. Contact Ogborne Law to schedule your estate-planning session.