Wills and Trusts for the sake of your children’s futures
If you have children, especially young children — please do them the favor of putting your wishes as to whom you want raising them should you be unable to, into a formal document that will hold up in your state’s court.
Have a proper Will to ensure that your children will be raised, loved, and educated according to your will. And if you have money with which to provide for them, create a Trust to ensure that this money will, indeed, be used to its best for them.
You may feel you’re young and healthy and have plenty of time to do this.
You may feel you don’t have an “estate” yet and that it’s silly to have an estate plan. Hopefully, you’ll live long, happy, healthy lives and be able to guide your children well into adulthood. But just in case, please don’t leave their futures in question. Don’t let your children end up with Guardians that are named by a court, simply by bloodlines. And worse, don’t risk that your beautiful children will have to become wards of Child Protective Services and the foster system, even just for the time it takes to determine a familial guardian.
Wills are not just for older people. Children are perhaps the primary purpose of a Will. Whatever else you have, have a Will in which you name a Guardian — a Conservator— for your children. In fact, you can do even better by naming alternates, just in case circumstances change.
If you and your children’s other parent are not married or are divorced at the time of your passing or incapacity or if your children’s other parent is unfortunately incapacitated or unable to parent, the situation and need for a solid plan legally laid out is, perhaps, even more important.
Parents typically have very strong feelings about which relative or person they want to raise their children. I often sit in conferences with clients who have specific ideas about who they do not want to raise their children. These people are often relatives — and they are exactly whom the court would give their children to. A relative would be the court’s first choice, even if not yours.
When we sit down with you, we’ll do our best to make sure all the legal issues are dealt with so your Will or Estate Plan will hold up in court and get through the court system in minimal time. But we’ll be doing so much more. We’ll also help you formulate your plan and make the best guardianship choices.
Meanwhile, some tips to help you start considering your best guardian:
- Consider the age of your guardian or guardians.
- Make sure this person or couple wants your children and fits their temperaments. If the would-be guardian or guardians have their own children, will your children fit in well and receive proper attention.
- Take religion and morals into account if you wish your children raised within a specific religion, as you likely do.
- Living arrangements are important as well. Will your children need to move schools, towns, states?
- Can your preferred guardian or guardians afford to shelter, cloth and education your children?
- And last but not least, will the California court approve your choice or choices of Guardian — because ultimately, the court gets that final decision.
Don’t just trust that people will take care of your funds and your children…
If you have young children, a Trust is another important part of your Estate Plan.
A Trust is, in essence, a long-term budget for your money that will be respected and adhered to even after you are unable to oversee the investments and expenditures in person.
By setting up a Trust for each of your children, you can provide a spending plan that, unforeseen financial crises aside, ensures your children will have money for necessities, and if there’s enough in your estate, money for a good higher education or to set up a business or home later on.
Perhaps your child has a talent you want to see nourished. By having a trust, you can instruct your trustee to budget funds to see this through.
As we talk with you, we’ll help you determine a viable timeline and financial plan. We will also help you to choose a Trustee to preside over the expenditures and investments.
When we set up a Trust for your child or children we help you to:
- Keep your money invested so it has opportunity to grow.
- Avoid misuse of your hard-earned money by selfish people or scams.
- Avoid frivolous spending by your youths.
- Provide your child or children with a good higher education.
- Provide your child or children with the ability to live on their own when their Guardianship ends.
- Keep your money earmarked for your children, even in the event of your spouse remarrying someone who may not care for your children’s future as you would like.
Don’t forget to keep your Will or Trust up to date
Remember, it’s important to keep the plan up to date. As your career develops, as your children grow, as your designated guardians age, it’s best to make changes so your child’s needs can still be met.