Estate Planning Lawyer: Providing for Minor Children in Your Will
You probably don’t want to think about the possibility of dying while your children are still too young to take care of themselves and manage their own affairs. However, as a responsible parent, you have an obligation to not only think about it but to make plans in the event that it happens. When it comes to estate planning, there are two provisions you need to think about specific and spell out clearly in your will. First, who is to take guardianship of your children. Second, how their inheritance is to be managed. Both are required when addressing Providing for Minor Children in Your Will.
A legal guardian will serve a parental function in the lives of your children in the event of your death, caring for their physical needs like clothing, food, and shelter, as well as providing love and guidance. You do not want to leave this important decision to the court with no indication as to your preferences. The court will, of course, make a conscientious effort to act in your children’s best interests, but it cannot read your mind to know what you want for your children.
While it is important to name a guardian in your will, be sure you discuss the matter with the person you’ve chosen beforehand. Before you can entrust anyone with such a large responsibility, you have to ensure that he or she is willing and able to accept it. In fact, due to the possibility that your first pick might say no, it is a good idea to make a list of several possible candidates before discussing the matter with anyone, and name an alternate in your will in case circumstances change and your first choice is unable to accept should the time come.
Should you and your spouse/partner both die before your children come of age, you can bequest most or all of your property to them, but because minor children cannot manage their own property, you must make some sort of arrangement to have a responsible adult hold the property for them. One common way of doing this is by setting up one or more trusts for your children, giving you the power to specify when and how they are to receive it. You can also name a custodian for your assets under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, but in this case, you can’t control when your children can receive their inheritance because each state sets its own age limit. Another option is to name a property guardian in your will.
A wills lawyer in St. Peters, MO can help you craft an estate plan that fits your needs.
Thanks to the Legacy Law Center for their insight into estate planning and including minor children in your will.