What will happen to your children if you become incapacitated or die today? Who will take care of them? How will they be provided for? These aren’t pleasant thoughts to contemplate, but they are important to consider. Should something happen to you, the last thing you want is your children’s future to be decided by the courts.
Estate Planning Tips for Parents with Minor Children
California estate planning attorneys are committed to helping families protect their children through proactive, comprehensive estate planning. While each family’s unique needs will guide their estate plan, these five estate planning tips for parents of minor children are a good starting point:
1. Decide on a Guardian
You must decide who you want to raise your children if you aren’t around to do so. Naming a guardian for your children will safeguard their future well-being and ensure that they will remain with someone of your choosing. If you do not name a guardian, the courts may need to appoint one for them or place them in foster care.
When choosing someone to act as your child’s guardian, ask yourself these questions:
- Do they live close by, or will they relocate to your children’s community?
- Do they have stable personal relationships?
- Are they financially responsible and secure?
- Will they provide the lifestyle and religious upbringing you would prefer?
- Are they willing to assume the responsibility of raising your children?
2. Update Beneficiaries on Retirement Accounts
Review your retirement and investment accounts and update your beneficiaries. Ask your estate planning attorney about naming beneficiaries and how to ensure that benefits are distributed according to your wishes.
3. Purchase Life Insurance
Life insurance offers peace of mind that your children will have the funds needed to live comfortably and pursue their goals in the event of your death.
An estate planning attorney may advise you regarding policy types and amounts suitable to your family’s needs. Factor your estate debts and your children’s short-term and long-term needs when purchasing life insurance policies, including:
- Special medical needs
- Care-taking support
- Standard of living
- Sports and recreation
- College expenses
4. Advance Health Care Directives
Many people think of estate planning exclusively in terms of finances. However, it’s equally important to exeu an advance health care directive.
A medical directive a will define your preferences regarding medical treatment and decision-makers. A financial power of attorney designates who can access and manage your finances when you can’t.
These documents are essential to any comprehensive estate plan, establishing clarity and direction for your loved ones in the event you are incapacitated or deceased.
5. Establish a Will and Trust
Decisions regarding your children’s care and the management of your estate need to be recorded in a legal format. A skilled estate planning attorney will prepare all necessary documents and ensure they are legally sound if challenged.
Trusts are particularly valuable as they allow for specific instructions regarding the trustee’s estate. For instance, many parents instruct that their estate be disbursed incrementally, as a child ages and matures, and for specific purposes, such as funding college or entrepreneurial pursuits.
Trusts also protect against costly probate and unnecessary court intervention, saving thousands of dollars upon estate distribution.
Protect your Family with the Help of a California Estate Planning Attorney
Families with young children should be proactive in their approach to the future. Anything could happen, which might tragically leave minor children at risk of being orphaned. Don’t risk their future to chance.
Contact our office today and plan ahead with the help of an experienced California estate planning attorney.