Written by Jonathan Breeden
When you’re doing the day-to-day work of raising children, estate planning might seem like something that can get pushed further and further down your to-do list. It can even feel morbid to envision a life where you’re not with your children. However, estate planning with children should be a priority. It’s an effective way of protecting your children, preparing for the future, and ensuring that they have what they need.
With offices in Raleigh, Garner, Angier, and Smithfield, Breeden Law Office provides step by step estate planning guidance and compassionate representation throughout Johnston and Harnett Counties, NC. Let us help you come up with a plan that works for you, your family, and gives you some peace of mind.
A comprehensive estate plan typically includes several parts. The documents and other estate planning tools described below are often important for those with children in mind. However, you should discuss your needs with an estate planning attorney in NC to develop a plan that reflects your family’s unique circumstances.
A last will and testament is essential for parents with minor children. In this document, you can name a guardian to care for your children if you pass away.
It’s recommended that you discuss this decision with the intended guardian because you will want to know if they are ready to take on the responsibility of caring for your children. Your attorney may also recommend naming a backup guardian. This ensures that your children are cared for if your first choice is unable to take guardianship of them.
People and situations change, which is why it’s important to update your will on a regular basis.
Many people rely on trusts to provide for their children’s financial needs. Minor children cannot inherit money from a will, and a trust is a way to allocate money for your children’s care.
If you create a trust, you can appoint a trustee to use the money for the children’s care. You may also set it up to distribute money to children when they reach certain ages.
For example, rather than having assets released to a child when they turn 18, you may choose to release a percentage to them at age 18, a percentage at age 25, and a percentage at age 30. This can help ensure that your children will use your assets responsibly.
If you have children with special needs who are likely to need lifelong care, you can also set up a special needs trust. This assigns a trustee to manage your assets and use them for the benefit of your child. A trust structured in this way also allows your child to continue receiving state benefits and aid.
Your estate plan does not just provide solutions after you die. It also protects your assets and healthcare preferences if you become incapacitated.
An advanced healthcare directive outlines which actions should be taken to protect your health if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. A financial power of attorney gives a named person permission to manage your finances if you become incapacitated.
Life insurance is a great tool for young and growing families. Having a life insurance policy for each parent ensures that the surviving partner will be able to maintain their family’s standard of living, even with a decrease in income.
There are many factors that go into which type of life insurance you need and how much you need, including your level of familial support, income, other assets, and familial expenses . You should discuss your goals with an estate planning attorney to find a plan that suits you.
No one wants to think about passing away before they’re ready, especially when they have young children to raise.
Discussing your fears, goals, and concerns with an estate planning attorney in North Carolina can help make sure that your family is taken care of. Learn more about estate planning with children by contacting Breeden Law Office.