Estate Planning for Your Minor Children

If you have minor children, guardianship is a very important step when it comes to estate planning for your death.

Failing to name guardians for your children in your will can lead to custody issues that could easily have been avoided by simply taking the time to decide who you want to take care of your minor children in the event of your death.

Determining who will raise your children if you die can be a difficult decision, but avoiding the issue of guardianship is the number one reason why people fail to plan their estate or have a will.

By putting off the decision about custody, parents put their children at risk in the event of their death.

Unless a guardian is named in estate documents the courts will name someone they feel is right for the role of guardian.  Court battles for custody can be long and drawn out, especially if there is more than one applicant who is seeking custody.

The worst-case scenario is that no one applies to take custody of your children.  The courts may decide to give custody to someone in your family who really doesn’t want the responsibility, or your children may end up in foster care.

When planning your estate try to choose guardians for your children who you know will want to take them.  Don’t feel that you have to choose a family member; friends you trust can also be ideal candidates.

This can place a huge financial and emotional strain on your children as well as deplete the assets from your estate.

Consider separating guardianship of your children from the assets of your estate.

By naming someone other than the guardian to be the trustee of your children’s money you ensure that there are some checks and balances in place when it comes to deciding how that money is spent.

Always have a backup named for the guardian in the event that your first choice is unable to accept the role.

The most important thing is to consider the options and have a plan in place. Let us help! »

Planning ahead is a gift to your loved ones!