So, you've just decided to start a family. This can be one of the most exciting times for a person or couple. Whether a family is started through giving birth or through adoption, parents should help ensure their children are protected should anything happen to their parents. While the beginning of a family can be a hectic time, with changing diapers and getting very little sleep, it is important that parents take time as soon as possible to arrange a will and provide guardianship for the child.
A will can help choose a guardian, which most often a judge will honor, and a trust can help manage the and spend any money that is left to the child. This trust can also be used to make sure the child doesn't receive the ability to control the money until they are able to properly manage it themselves. It could be designated as a certain age or after they graduate from college. This can help prevent a child from getting the money right after they turn 18 years old, when they might not be able to handle large amounts of money.
Estate planning can help a family have peace of mind that if the unexpected happens, a plan will be in place to make sure their wishes are honored and their loved ones are taken care of. Although it isn't easy to think about not being there for your children, these documents can help ensure that if something does happen unexpectedly, they will be alright in the long-term.
Parents should have discussions with those who they choose to be guardians if something was to happen. Giving them advanced notice and making sure they are able and willing to be the guardian of a child is important in making sure any potential process goes smoothly.
Source: The Palm Beach Post, "Nominate a guardian for your minor child in your will," Joseph Karp, Nov. 26, 2012