Many parents with young children overlook the important process of estate planning. They often consider themselves too young, too busy, too healthy or too cash-strapped to begin this essential task. The important decisions that come with estate planning can also paralyze them, for who can imagine their children being raised by another person should the unthinkable occur?
But the problem is…the unthinkable can occur, and parents should certainly hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
Guardianship of Minor Children
First and foremost in estate planning for parents with minor children is choosing a guardian for their children and drafting a will naming the guardian. This is often the most difficult part of the estate planning process, but a task that must be faced. Once a guardian is chosen, not only should parents talk with the person to make sure they are willing to take on the challenge of raising your children, but a backup guardian should be chosen should the original guardian be unable or unwilling to serve if the time comes.
Guardianship of the Estate of Minor Children
Not only should a guardian be chosen to care for the children themselves, known as a personal guardian, but one should be chosen to care for their estate and handle the financial and business aspects, known as the guardian of the estate. While the same person can handle both guardianship tasks, parents may choose two people to handle these responsibilities, or even an institution, such as a bank, or an attorney to handle the guardianship of the estate.
Executor of the Estate
Choosing an Executor to handle and administer the overall estate is another consideration. Executor duties are time consuming and require someone extremely detail oriented. Again, while this task can fall to the same choice as the guardian, probate tasks are numerous and a professional can handle the tasks for a fee so the guardian can focus on the care of the children.
Now that the critical decisions are made, work with an estate planning lawyer who can help you put together a comprehensive estate plan to provide for your family and lessen the burden on them should the unthinkable occur.