Consider your will as one last chance to let your heirs know how much you love them – because you thought enough of them to plan for your eventual demise. Any adult with minor children or assets of any kind needs to have an estate plan. And if you have a complicated life – second or subsequent marriages, business ownership, etc. – your estate planning becomes even more important.
Despite the obvious need, a CBS Boston post, “Where There’s A Will There’s A Way!” reports that less than 35% of Americans have wills in place. No one wants to think about why they need a will, but if you have minor children, failing to have a will can lead to disastrous consequences for them. You may be one of those dedicated parents who won’t allow anything that’s not organic, GMO free or petroleum product free into your home – but if you’ve procrastinated about your will, your children are completely unprotected if something tragic happens to you and your spouse.
You need a will that names guardians for your children, so that the decision is not made by the court. If you have life insurance and no will naming a guardian, expect a lot of distant relatives to show up who profess to care about your children.
One solution is to create a trust for the children when they are minors so something is in place for their financial support in the event you pass away. You would need to designate a person or persons in the will to serve as trustee. This may also be accomplished using a revocable living trust. However, many parents delay this because they can’t figure out who to designate as guardian for their children. This decision can be complicated with blended families. So many just postpone thinking about this important decision.
The wisest selection may be an adult sibling, cousin or a friend who lives close by. You should discuss this with family members and friends. Talk about who you would like to raise your kids.
Estate planning makes things easier for those you leave behind if something should happen to you. Visit an experienced estate planning attorney and get this done now.
Reference: CBS Boston (August 27, 2015) “Where There’s A Will There’s A Way!”
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