As a parent, you probably do not even want to think about what would happen if you were to pass away before they become adults. It can be a very upsetting idea. However, addressing the possibility head-on by making an estate plan that includes your children is the best way to set your mind at ease. People are waiting longer to have or adopt children, and it is fairly common for men to have children later in life. While all parents of minor children should have an estate plan aimed at providing for the children, it is particularly important for older parents. By creating a comprehensive estate plan, you can help ensure that if the worst were to happen, your children would be provided for. When protecting minor children in your estate plan is your main goal, it is important to work with an attorney so that you can be confident in your plan.
Tips for Protecting Your Children in an Estate Plan
Since you cannot leave everything directly to your minor children, there will be some strategizing involved in your estate planning. Some tips and things to consider include:
Combine wills and trusts – If you are wondering whether you should use a will or a trust when you have minor children, the correct answer is probably “both.” You will need a will to name your preferred successor guardian – the person you would want to raise your children in your absence. However, a trust may provide greater flexibility so that distributions can be made over time. You probably do not want your children to receive a lump sum when they come of age.
Consider one-parent survival – It is more common for children to lose one parent than both at the same time. Take into account the possibility that your children’s other parent will survive you. If you are no longer together with the other parent, your attorney can help you work out how best to leave assets to your children while reducing the odds of the other parent misusing funds meant to help your children.
Think long-term – Children do not magically develop the ability to support themselves on their 18th birthday. Most 18 to 21-year-olds still rely heavily on parental support as they go through college or job training. Consider that your children will likely need support through early adulthood.
Choose the right trustee – You need a trustee whose judgment you trust and who has good financial skills as well.
Remember that while you are not likely to need it, it is wise to have an estate plan that adequately protects your minor children. You can always revisit your estate plan when they have reached adulthood.
Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Attorney
A. Traub & Associates is skilled at protecting minor children through comprehensive estate planning. Our experienced Lombard estate planning lawyers will help you prepare every document you need to ensure that your children will be protected. Call 630-426-0196 for a free consultation.