Estate Planning for Fathers: 5 Ways to Protect Your Family

Fathers often feel a certain responsibility to take on the role of head of the household. Part of that responsibility usually entails guaranteeing the financial well-being of their families and taking the lead on managing the household’s finances.

As families celebrated Father’s Day last month by giving gifts and spending quality time with dad to thank him for all that he does, many fathers were likely reminded of how much their children mean to them. Fathers can continue to fulfill their role as protector even when they are no longer around by following these 5 estate planning tips:

  1. Draft a Last Will and Testamentfather's estate planning

Wills are essential for fathers, especially single fathers because they allow one to make beneficiary designations and voice guardianship preferences for children. If you pass away and a new guardian must be appointed, the preferences stated in your will are considered when guardianship is decided in court. Do not assume that your relatives will willingly take on this responsibility without your guidance. Make sure you pre-designate someone you trust that shares your values and is in the best possible position to care for your children.

  1. Create a Trust

A common worry among fathers is that their children cannot or will not spend their inheritance sensibly. Unlike wills, trusts allow one to outline the method, time, and frequency that assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Trusts allow parents to protect their beneficiaries by distributing funds in installments or upon previously specified conditions.

  1. Establish an Advance Directive

Fathers can protect their families by planning ahead for any unexpected medical emergencies. An advance directive allows one to state emergency medical treatment preferences and appoint a healthcare agent to make important decisions on their behalf. Advance directives save family members from having to make heartbreaking end-of-life decisions without guidance, and provide them with relief in knowing that your wishes are secure.

  1. Organize Emergency Information

Drafting the most comprehensive estate planning documents and setting up the best accounts will not be much help to your family if they do not know they exist or cannot find the information. Save your family from additional stress and ensure quick decision-making by creating an “In Case of Emergency” file. Include copies of estate planning documents and life insurance policies, and specifics about digital assets, bank accounts, passwords, lawyers, and financial advisors.

  1. Discuss Your Plans with Your Family

No one wants to think about or plan for their own death or incapacitation, and it is especially difficult for parents to think about how that would affect their household. Many parents want to shield their children and spouses from having to consider the unimaginable, but leaving loved ones in the dark can do more harm than good. Discussing your plans with your spouse and older children can provide them with a sense of comfort in knowing that your affairs are in order, and in turn, can teach them the importance of planning ahead.

For assistance with wills and estate planning, we invite you to contact

the Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith, LLC at 410-995-7719.

Maryland Estate Planning & Business Attorney Elsa W. Smith

Estate Planning Attorney Elsa W. Smith