Becoming a parent completely changes your priorities in life. Making sure that your children have everything they need will quickly become the most important thing to you.
Even if you had no desire to make a last will before the birth of your children, providing for them if anything happens to you will probably become a top priority. Whether you need to adjust an existing estate plan to optimize the protections for your children or create the first-ever estate plan or last will, there are a few things you can do to give your children the most protection possible.
Designate a guardian who can be there for the kids
Naming a guardian is one of the most important steps in estate planning as a parent. Choosing someone who can live with and care for your children when you can’t is important. You may want to include guardianship information in your last will in the event of your death and also guardianship details in the event of your long-term incapacitation.
Put the inheritance for your children in a trust
The more assets you have, the stronger the potential ulterior motive of anyone who agrees to care for your children. The problem with a direct inheritance is that any guardian will have access to it until your children turn 18.
They could spend it on anything without repercussions in many cases. To protect your legacy for your children, putting your biggest assets into a trust until they turn 18 may be a good solution. It’s also important to make sure that the trustee is not the same person as their guardian.
Make arrangements in case you become incapacitated
Your children aren’t just vulnerable after you die. If you become hospitalized or otherwise medically incapacitated, there will be no one to care for them. Additionally, bills could go unpaid, making their housing insecure.
Financial power of attorney documents can give someone you trust the authority to maintain your household or business while you can’t. It’s also important to make arrangements with someone you trust, as mentioned above, to serve as a guardian until your health recovers.
By focusing on when your children will be vulnerable, you can make an estate plan that protects them as much as possible if something happens to you.