In part 1 of this blog series, we discussed your assets and minor children if you die without an estate plan. Not having an estate plan can lead to decisions being made for your minor children by people who don’t know them and without parental input. The standard is “the best interest of the child.” Still, a judge who does not know you or your family’s circumstances makes this decision with minimal information on what is best.
Fortunately, a good estate plan can allow you to make those crucial decisions that will be in the best interest of your minor children in case of your death or incapacitation. The following tools by estate planning attorneys to put you in control of your family’s future:
1. Will: A will is the foundational estate planning document. It is the document that allows you to direct our assets upon your death. A will also allows the opportunity to nominate the guardian for your minor children upon your death. This person would take over custodial care for your minor children.
2. Trust: A trust is a highly flexible document that provides even greater control and security that their children will be well cared for. Some benefits include:
- The ability to avoid the probate process, which will save your estate time and money. Probate can last six to twelve (or more!) months and cost thousands of dollars.
- The ability for a parent to choose how long assets are held in trust for minor children. The default rule is that children fully inherit assets when the child turns 18; however, a trust gives you the ability to determine what would be best for your child.
- Assets in trust for your children may be protected from creditors so long as the assets are still in the trust.
3. Powers of Attorney: A power of attorney is a document that allows another person to act on your behalf in case of your incapacitation. A thoughtful estate plan will include a general power of attorney for paying bills, filing tax returns, making bank transactions, etc. This document ensures that if you cannot care for your child, someone will still be able to use your assets to care for them.
The best first step to secure your family’s future is sitting down with a licensed estate planning attorney to create a solution tailored to your family’s needs. You can make an appointment at The Law Office of Trent Linville, PLLC by clicking here to schedule a consultation and see what estate planning solution is right for you.