Estate planning is important regardless of age. However, it is especially important to families with young children.
Many young families with small children do not have estate planning at the top of their list. However, it really should be a top priority, according to The Daily Sentinel’s in “What is missing from your estate plan?”
The article mentions a last will and testament as the document which parents need to legally nominate guardians to rear their children, if orphaned. Better in Uniform Probate Code states such as Massachusetts are separate documents that permit nomination of guardians and conservators of minor, or disabled adult, children, not only if the parents die, but if the parents are incapacitated.
While some people name one person to rear the children and handle the money, if possible it is usually better to separate the two roles.
A separate, non-binding letter of intent that you update periodically is also very important. Think of it like a long set of babysitter instructions, only if they are ever needed, the babysitter won’t be able to call you to ask questions.
Without these instructions, those left behind can have very different ideas about where the children should live and who should care for them. If the two parent’s families have very strong opinions, suddenly both families have hard choices to make about what will happen to the children.
It is also necessary to plan for incapacity. More about that later this week.
Signing your estate planning documents does not mean you will die the next day, so don’t procrastinate. Estate planning is a process, not a one-time event. Get a good plan in place that protects your loved ones when you can’t, and do it right away.
An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances, including families with young children.
Resource: The Daily Sentinel (Aug. 12, 2018) “What is missing from your estate plan?”