This week’s post on asset management is the second in our back-to-school series, focusing on estate planning for minor children. To read week one’s post on Guardianship, please click here.
Here is the cold, hard truth: If YOU don’t appoint a guardian for your minor children, and if YOU do not legally document how your assets should be managed for them in case of an emergency, then the COURT will step in and a JUDGE will decide these factors for your family.
Without planning, your minor children will be at the mercy of the court for their well being if you aren’t there to care for them. And, whether or not your child is mentally and emotionally ready to manage assets, the court will give your child unrestricted access to their inheritance when they turn 18. Remember when you were 18? Yikes!
Here are some questions you should ask yourself when planning for your child’s financial stability:
- Where are my assets and how can they be accessed?
- Who will control the assets while my child is a minor?
- At what age(s) will my children receive assets outright?
- How will the assets be distributed?
- How can an inheritance affect financial aid?
- What if my child is disabled?
One tool you might consider when answering these questions is a trust. Here are some of the benefits of having a trust to manage your assets:
- With a revocable living trust, YOU select who will manage the estate (and NOT the court)
- A trust provides flexibility and privacy
- Trusts can be set up to leave assets to more than one person
- Trusts can be designed to not interfere with financial aid or disability benefit eligibility
- In a trust YOU can determine at what age you want your child to receive your assets and you can specify how these assets are used
- Probate courts are NOT required to be involved in managing the assets of a trust
You can learn more about how best to plan for your family by contacting us to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family. This month we have a special offer: Be one of the first FIVE to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session in September and we’ll waive our regular $750 planning session fee.