Raising children is said to be one of the greatest joys in life. You watch your child grow from a tiny little baby into a small person that walks and talks with opinions of his or her own. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to raise your children right. You make them eat healthy, send them to the right schools and teach them right from wrong.
Unfortunately, sometimes the worst happens. You and your spouse could get into an accident or become ill. Even though you may be young and healthy now, there are no guarantees. What if the worst occurs while your children are still minors? Who will take care of your children then? Here are four reasons young parents should consider creating estate plans.
Pick a legal guardian for your children
You and your spouse may have asked a friend or family member to be a godmother or godfather to your children. Picking someone to take care of your children is an important decision, but just declaring this person the godmother or godfather might not be enough. You need to create estate planning documents that legally name your chosen person as guardian. This will inform the court you believe that that the appointment of your named person as guardian is in the best interest of your child.
Create specific financial arrangements for their care
A will is a straight forward estate planning document that allows you to name your children or a trust as the beneficiaries of your estate. Within the will, you can establish a trust and name a trustee to handle the funds to which your children are entitled until your children are of such an age that you believe that they can appropriately manage their own financial affairs. While the funds are being held in trust, you may provide provisions for the trustee to make distribution to or for the benefit of your children at certain times or at certain events. You could also direct that asset distribution occurs as your children reach certain ages. This provides more flexibility for minor children’s care. It also can ensure they do not receive the bulk of their inheritance until they are mature enough to manage it.
Name a durable power of attorney
A durable power of attorney manages your affairs in case of your incapacitation. Signing durable power of attorney documents allows this person to pay your bills, sign checks, sell your property and move money between your accounts. When you have minor children, they are often incapable of making such decisions, so it is important to name someone who can act on behalf of you and your family, if you can no longer do so.
Plan funeral arrangements
No one wants to think about planning their funeral. But if you do not do it, the responsibility will be up to your family and children. This can lead to fights among family members. It can also cause your wishes regarding end-of-life decisions to not be respected. Your family may not know whether you want to be buried or cremated, so they may not make the decision you would have preferred.
As a young parent, you likely have a long life ahead of you. However, creating estate plans now ensures your children are well cared for no matter what happens. Contact an estate planning attorney at the Quinn Law Firm to learn more. We can be reached by calling 814-833-2222.