ESTATE PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS AND YOUR CHILDREN
One of the most important considerations for individuals drafting estate plans is their family. Specifically, their children. It is an even greater consideration when children are still minors. Most parents want to know who is going to care and provide for their minor children should something happen. Creating a Will allows for you, as a parent, to appoint a guardian who will carry out those tasks and leaves the decision in your hands as opposed to the courts after you have passed. You should also consider appointing a conservator for your minor children to ensure any assets they are inheriting are properly managed and used for their benefit. While this can be achieved by creating a Will it may be necessary to take your estate planning one step further, depending on the size of your estate and how you would like your assets distributed, and create a Trust. When creating your Trust you will appoint a Trustee who will follow specific guidelines set forth by you in the trust to manage the assets of the trust for the beneficiaries.
It is also important to consider estate planning not just for your minor children but for adult children as well. Many people try to accomplish the passing of their assets with do-it-yourself estate planning. In doing so many incorrectly believe that attaching their children’s names to their assets is a less costly and complicated way of distributing assets. Such do-it-yourself estate planning tactics can have serious consequences. When you place your child or anyone else on your deeds, accounts, and other assets you are giving them partial legal ownership in your property which in turn exposes your property to any liability resulting from that child’s actions. For example, if your child is listed a co-owner on your bank account and is being pursued by a creditor for monies they are owed your bank account is now at risk of being levied by the creditor. An alternative would be the use of a Will or a Trust, which would allow you to pass these items to your children upon your death without exposing your assets to their potential creditors.
Another consideration is whether or not you have a blended family. Traditional families are becoming less of the norm and families now consist of children who may be the biological child of one spouse but not of the other. A major concern exists that these children, who are not the children of both spouses, will be left nothing if one spouse predeceases the other. The result of failing to have a Will or Trust in place is that any inheritance the children receive will be done in accordance with your respective states intestacy laws, which may not be in line with your wishes. To avoid such harsh consequences it is necessary to have a Will or Trust outlining specifically who inherits what and to make sure that no beneficiary is left out.
To learn more about estate planning and the effects it can have on your loved ones please contact Hindo Law Group, PLLC at (602) 377-9369 to set up a free consultation. We can guide you through the estate planning process and answer any questions you have about revocable living trusts, living wills, last wills, powers of attorney and the probate process.
Disclaimer: The information in this web site is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. The information, documents or forms provided herein is intended for general information purposes only and must not be regarded as legal advice. Laws change periodically; therefore the information in this site may not be accurate. It is imperative that you seek legal counsel in order to ascertain your rights and obligations under the applicable law and based upon your specific circumstances.