If you have any assets, property or important belongings, regardless of worth, it’s important to have an estate plan in place. An estate plan will allow you to arrange for the future of your belongings and your loved ones, which can give you peace of mind throughout your life. This is especially true after having children, because you will want to ensure that your children are taken care of in case something were to happen to you. When creating an estate plan to include your minor child or children, there are some significant things to consider.
Choosing a Caretaker For Your Children
Perhaps the most important aspect of an estate plan when you have minor children is legally appointing a caretaker for your children if you were to pass. Though this can be a difficult scenario to fathom, it is important to plan accordingly. Otherwise, if a tragedy were to occur, your family will be left deciding how best to care for your child. This could result in family feuds, custody battles or your child being left in the hands of the wrong person. In the case that both you and the other parent passed without appointing a caretaker, the state may take control over what happens to your child.
Having a legally appointed caretaker can ensure safety and security for your child. When choosing someone, it’s important to make the decision with the other parent. You will also need to talk to the person you wish to appoint as caretaker, so that you can ensure they are okay and capable of the potential responsibility. Properly planning this early on allows you to discuss your wishes with the appointed caretaker, as well as with the rest of the child’s family.
How Your Assets Will be Managed
You will likely wish to leave at least some major portion of your estate to your children. If they are minor, then you should create a trust where the money will go until the child is of the appropriate age. It is also vital that you name someone who can manage any assets or property until you child is old enough to receive them. You are able to include stipulations with these assets, for example by allowing money to be used toward your child’s education. If you fail to properly allocate parts of your estate to your child, then the state will be in charge of the assets. In such case, the court must be petitioned whenever funds are needed, which can be a long, difficult process.
When Your Children Will Receive Their Inheritance
You are generally able to decide when your child will receive their inheritance. This is a personal decision, but one that requires some thought. Some parents decide 18 is an appropriate age to receive an inheritance, but others believe that it’s best to wait until the child is 21. It may even be appropriate to choose an earlier or older age, such as when they marry, depending on your preference and the circumstances. It’s important to consider factors, such as when they may need the money most, or when you think they will be responsible enough to properly manage the money.
With such significant and impactful decisions to make, it can be helpful to seek legal guidance from an experienced attorney. An estate planning attorney in Sacramento CA can help you determine how best to manage your estate based on your situation and children. In addition, they can help you properly establish necessary trusts, accounts and documentation regarding the future of your estate.