“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” – Khalil Gibran
Most people aim to have a fail-safe future plan in place. Although estate planning is for everyone, some aspects are unique to parents. If you have children, their own needs and ambitions must be given special attention. Parents cannot afford to ignore the following questions: What will happen to my family in the event of my death or incapacitation? How will bills be paid? Who will provide short-term and long-term care for my children?
Facing these difficult questions may be intimidating, but it is the first step toward crafting an estate plan that will put you and your family at ease.
Taking stock of important documents ahead of time can be a lifesaver during a crisis. It is also beneficial to create a list of your assets, making it easier to decide how your estate will be administered in the future and ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks.
Once you have formed your estate planning documents, store them in a location that is easily accessible and away from potential damage. Your executor (the manager of your estate) will need to access and file your will when you are deceased, which means they should be able to easily locate your will in addition to any other important documentation.
An estate is not limited to real estate or monetary funds, and includes physical, personal items. Your children may be comforted to find that their parents took the time to pass down a meaningful, sentimental gift via a will or a trust.
When it comes to finances, it is common to worry that your child cannot or will not spend their inheritance sensibly. Unlike wills, revocable and irrevocable living trusts allow for funds to be distributed in installments, or upon conditions specified by the trust maker.
You have the ability to list your preferences for guardianship in your will. Discuss guardianship and childcare options with close, trusted adults in your life. To avoid confusion in the event of your death, ensure that everyone is on the same page and prepared to accommodate your children.
Keep in mind that your Last Will and Testament does not guarantee that guardianship will be appointed, as it is ultimately a court decision. However, having a well-crafted will with details and support for your guardianship decision can help tremendously.
Estate planning encompasses more than just the distribution of your assets. Did you know that emergency medical care and end-of-life decisions are also a part of your estate plan?
An advance directive (a key estate planning document) is a form in which you may state your emergency medical treatment preferences and appoint a healthcare agent to make important decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Your family and children will find relief in knowing that you have planned ahead and that your wishes are being protected.