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Estate Planning 101 for Families With Young Children

Nov. 24, 2021

Estate planning is a subject that many people avoid thinking about. However, if you have young children at home, estate planning should be near the top of your priority list. It's never too early to start thinking about how you would like things handled in case something happens to both parents or other primary caretakers. You may not think anything will happen for years - but it only takes an accident or illness for everything to change in an instant.

A proper estate plan can save your family time and money during what are already stressful times by providing them with the information they need to make important decisions quickly while still allowing flexibility where appropriate. For example, without a will there might be no one who knows what assets you own, which could result in time wasted trying to figure out what your family needs. Also, because of the way property is passed without a will in many cases there could be higher taxes and fees.

With all that said, it's also important for parents to know how they should go about creating their estate plan so no mistakes are made and everything goes smoothly when the time comes.

Estate Planning Basics for Parents

  • An estate plan is a set of instructions that tell someone else what to do when you die or can’t make decisions anymore.

  • Without an estate plan, the state decides how to distribute your property according to their intestacy laws.

  • Without a will there might be no one who knows what assets you own, which could result in time spent trying to figure out what your family needs.

  • Estate taxes are calculated based on the net value of all an individual’s possessions at death and children will receive estate assets in one lump sum once they turn 18.

  • There are two primary ways to leave assets to your heirs - a last will and testament or a trust. A trust offers significantly more control than a standard will.

  • Parents of minor children should also appoint physical and financial guardians for their children in the event both parents pass away (or are otherwise incapacitated).

  • Power of Attorneys and Living Wills are also important components of a comprehensive estate plan. A Power of Attorney designates who has authority to make decisions on your behalf (and when) while a Living Will documents your wishes with respect to certain medical procedures.

  • There are many reasons why an estate plan is important. One example would be that without a will or trust there may not be anyone who knows how to handle your financial affairs when something happens.

My Office Can Help Protect Your Children with an Estate Plan

To learn more about an estate plan that fits your unique needs, contact my office for a free strategy session. I’ll help you ensure your loved ones are cared for, no matter what.

Parenting Tip:

Create a safe, interesting environment. If you have a young child at home, it's important to make their room safe and fun. A plastic or rubber floor can be easy to clean without worrying about stains from juice boxes, snacks, etc. If your child is old enough they might enjoy having some of their toys in the bedroom as well as something that makes them feel grown up - like a lamp or night stand that they can use on their own.