For many people, the birth of their first child marks their true entry into adulthood. Late nights out are replaced by late nights soothing a fussy little one. Lazy Sunday mornings soon seem a distant memory. Your top priority becomes ensuring that your child stays safe and healthy, and that means making sure that he or she will be loved and provided for even if something should happen to you. The best way to accomplish that goal is to create an estate plan that includes a will.
If you are the parent of a minor, there are many reasons to create an estate plan, but the following two are perhaps the most important.
Minors will need a guardian
The guardian would be responsible for the care, custody, and education of your child and may also be responsible for deciding how, and when, assets left to your child are spent on the child’s behalf. If you don’t designate a guardian for your children, their care will be left to the discretion of the probate or juvenile court, which might appoint a guardian whom you would not have chosen.
At a minimum, you should take the following steps if you have minor children:
- Create a will that designates whom you would like to raise your children and whom you would like to manage your children’s inheritance.
- Consider purchasing life insurance, the proceeds of which can be used to support your children in the case of your or your spouse’s premature death.
Remember that creating an estate plan is one of the most important things you can do to provide for your children. The choices you make regarding your estate plan, including whether to create one, can have a tremendous impact on their lives.
Minors cannot inherit property directly
If funds are left to a minor, a court must appoint a conservator to take charge of the minor’s property until the child turns 18. These court proceedings can be time consuming and costly. Also, the court might appoint someone whom you would not have preferred.
As a new parent, you know how important it is to provide the best possible care for your child and to position her or him for success. Creating an estate plan is a critical step in ensuring that no matter what happens, your child will continue to receive the level of care you lovingly provide.