December 5, 2011
Parents in Sacramento rely on a lot of outside help when it comes to raising their children.
From family members to school systems to friends who pass on advice and hand-me-downs, it really does take a village to raise a child. However, when it comes to estate planning, it’s completely up to you to determine what is best for your minor children.
As an estate planning attorney near Sacramento, I recommend that all parents who have children under 18 name legal guardians and create an estate plan with their future protection in mind.
No one likes to think about the possibility of not being around to raise their children, but the unforeseen does happen. For example, if you were to die or become incapacitated somehow, who would care for your minor kids? In many cases, the surviving parent is the obvious choice. But, when you consider the fact that the family will be going through a difficult time and that the parental responsibilities will now fall to one person, it may be beneficial to go a step further.
Like many families, you may want to design an estate plan that provides more financial support for both the children and the spouse. In doing so, the surviving parent can be relieved of some of the burden of working and raising the children alone.
The children may also benefit from psychological counseling. As a part of the estate plan, some parents set up a strategy for providing therapy for the kids as they deal with the loss of a parent. This can also be provided for the surviving spouse.
In cases where both parents are killed or where one parent is already absent from the child’s life, setting up a guardianship is a must. This allows you to determine who in your “village” will be responsible for the continued upbringing of your children.
Your estate plan may also offer financial support to this person as well as trusts that the children can access when they reach a certain age.
When it comes to finances, it is also a good idea to consider what type of restrictions you might want to place on your children’s inheritance. Some parents make access contingent upon certain goals such as age, education, and behavior. Most parents will agree, though, that allowing their child to access their inheritance at the impressionable age of 18 can be a recipe for disaster.
Again, an estate planning attorney can help you weigh these options and choose a plan that is best suited for your families individual needs.
If you need help getting started with an estate plan that will protect your minor children, remember, we are here as a resource for you. Simply call our office at (916) 241-9661 and ask to schedule a Peace of Mind Planning Session, where qualified candidates can have their personal situation and options reviewed at no charge.