Estate Planning Basics for Young Families

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Estate planning for young parents is an important and often overlooked aspect of raising a family. It is critical for parents to ensure their minor children would be well cared for and provided for in the case of the parents’ absence.

Any parent will tell you that their children are the most important thing in their world. Should something happen to parents while their children are minors causing a situation where the parents are no longer able to care for their children, it is important to consider things such as:

 

Who would care for the minor children?

 

Parents should designate a Guardian to raise and care for their children in the parents’ absence. It is always a good idea to name an alternate Guardian as well, in the event the first person or couple named is unable or unwilling to act. Important considerations when naming a guardian include things such as; who would be able to take care of the child(ren) with as little disruption as possible. The older children are, the more important this becomes. This includes things such as maintaining the child in the same school district, extra-curricular activities, and allowing the child to continue to be near their friends or close family members. Other considerations include things such as how the Guardians raise their own children if they have them, religious beliefs, cultural beliefs and traditions, and overall morals and values.

If the Guardians being named do not reside near the children, it may also be important to name a temporary Guardian who could take custody of any minor children temporarily until the permanent Guardian is able to make arrangements to travel to the children.

 

What would happen to your house and other assets if you pass away and have minor children?

 

Parents should consider whether they would want the named Guardians to have the option of continuing to reside in the family home with the children. Practically speaking, this decision must also include considerations such as whether or not the property has a mortgage, whether the named Guardians have their own property and children, or whether the named Guardians reside in the same area or would be willing to relocate.

 

How do you protect property and financial assets for the benefit of minor children?

 

 At the minimum, parents should consider executing a Last Will and Testament to indicate how property will be maintained, distributed, or sold upon their passing. However, often times, placing real estate into a trust would benefit the parents, in turn this would benefit the children upon the passing of the parents. This is the best way to accomplish flexibility in regards to the property, while also protecting any equity in the property for the benefit of the children.

 

Fortunately, the process for implementing a thoughtful estate plan is not as intimidating, time consuming, expensive or difficult as one would surmise. An experienced Estate Planning attorney can help  guide your young family through the process and it should take no longer than a few weeks from the first contact until the documents are finalized and put into place.

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