This week’s post is the first in our back-to-school series, focusing on estate planning for minor children.
If you have a school-age child, by now you are already fully immersed in all things back to school. Along with all of the shopping for backpacks and school supplies, back to school is also a great time to start planning for protecting your minor children should anything happen to their most important resource — YOU. One question that weighs heavy on the minds of most parents is about guardianship. If the unimaginable happened, who would take care of your children?
You probably already have a list of considerations when thinking about an appropriate guardian for your children, but here are a few more things to consider as you make your plans:
- How close the potential guardian lives to where the children currently live?
- Is the lifestyle of the guardian conducive to parenting your children?
- Does the guardian have time and energy for parenting?
- Do the religious beliefs of the guardian mesh with those of your family?
- Are the age and health of the potential guardian conducive to parenting?
- Does the potential guardian have a parenting style you believe would work for your children?
- Is the potential guardian someone with whom your child already feels comfortable?
- If the potential guardian has other children, how would your children fit in?
Once you have your considerations covered, it’s time to take action, because what you do not want is for the court to decide who is best to raise your child when you already have the idea in mind. Without a clear plan in place, protective services usually has to get involved, which can be an unhappy experience for children already coping with tragedy.
Here are some action steps:
- To ensure that the person you want as guardian will be the guardian, you must
legally document your wishes.
- It is important to express your wishes to all interested parties (grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc) so that everyone is on the same page and there is no fighting over custody.
- Talk to the guardian and make sure that person is truly willing to take on the care of your child.
- Make an appointment with an estate planning attorney to ensure these plans are documented and to plan for financially supporting these plans.
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.