If you’re recently married and have young children, the last thing on your mind is probably planning for your estate in the event of your death or disability. However, tragic accidents occur every day, and the children whose parents have taken the time to set up a well thought out estate and guardianship plan will generally be better off.
Who Will Your Children Live With?
A first crucial, and arguably the most important, step is appointing a guardian for your children in the event that both you and your spouse become disabled or die. Without having a guardian appointed, the court will decide whose care your children would be under, and this will typically be a “close” relative. However, the court won’t know your extensive family history to necessarily make the best choice. For instance, you may have a close friend who shares your values and who you think would be a better choice to raise your children than your brother.
When deciding on your children’s potential guardian, it’s important to consider a few things. What core values do you want your children to experience? Do your children feel comfortable around the person you’re considering? Will the guardian be financially responsible to handle the money you’ve left for your children’s care? The last item doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker, but if you have any doubts, you may want to set up a separate trustee to manage your children’s finances or trust until they reach 18.
Who Will Handle the Legal and Financial Burdens?
Assigning a trustee means allowing one person to take care of the legal and financial processes when you are no longer able to. When you’re prepared and have a plan in place, you can save your family additional stress on top of their emotional grief.
Setting Up Life Insurance
In addition to estate planning, purchasing life insurance at a young age is crucial to ensure your children are covered. Life insurance will help your children’s new guardian to be able to provide for them, and to make sure they are able to handle the new financial responsibility of having one or more new children in their home. You’ll also want to start on a life insurance plan before you develop any pre-existing conditions. This is very affordable to do the younger you start, so be sure to reach out to a representative soon to talk about available plans.
Thinking about leaving your children or spouse behind is a scary thing, but it’s scarier to think of leaving them behind without a plan or way to financially cope with your loss. By setting up a revocable living trust plan, which includes protection planning trusts for your minor children, selecting trustees and appointing a guardian, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that if tragedy strikes, your children will be set for the future.