You are a well-informed and well-prepared parent – you spent days watching car seat safety videos, countless hours determining which stroller was best for your little one, and let’s not even talk about the time spent finding the perfect pediatrician. But how much time did you spend preparing your Last Will and Testament?
Regardless of your net worth, if you have a child, then you need a Last Will and Testament.
Appointing Your Minor Child’s Guardian: What will happen to my child if I pass away?
While no one wants to contemplate such a situation, in the event of your untimely passing, it is imperative that you have named a guardian to care for your minor child. In your Will, you can name the person that you would like to serve as your child’s guardian. You can even name one person to care for your child and another person to handle the financial aspects of that care. Using your Will, you can specify your intentions and detail your family’s needs. Without a Will, you are leaving the choice of guardian to the courts and to chance.
Planning For Your Young Adult Child: Would my “20-something” child be equipped to make responsible financial choices if s/he received an inheritance from me?
Even the most mature young adult might find it difficult to properly manage a lump-sum inheritance. In your Will, you can establish a trust for the benefit of your child that will ensure your child is cared for, but will prevent your child from directly accessing the funds until s/he attains a certain age. Trusts can be used in many ways and can be especially helpful for a child struggling with addiction, or dealing with creditor issues, or in an unstable marriage. Using your Will, you can customize the terms of the trust and the appointment of the Trustee.
Achieving Your Family’s Goals: How can I ensure that each member of my family receives as much (or as little) of my estate as I wish?
Without a Will, the state will determine how your assets will be distributed at your death. Many times, that distribution of assets will not reflect your desires – this is particularly true in cases of blended families. A properly-drafted Will can be utilized to ensure that every member of your family (and your spouse’s family) is provided for in the manner that you direct.
Providing Peace Of Mind: Is preparing a Last Will and Testament difficult?
The most difficult part of the estate planning process is taking the first step. A qualified estate planning attorney will facilitate the challenging discussions and will provide skillful advice and counsel regarding choosing a guardian, providing for the needs of your child, and determining the goals of your family. The sooner you begin the estate planning process, the sooner you can rest assured that you have fully provided for your family’s needs.