4 Steps to Protect Your Kids

At Estrada Legal, we work hard to identify your specific needs and tailor your estate plans accordingly. If you have kids under the age of 18 living with you, estate planning is something that should not be put off.

Planning who will care for your kids if you can’t is just one area of critical importance. Without a plan in place, the issue of who will care for your children will become the responsibility of the courts and they may select someone different than you would have liked.

The following four estate planning issues are important to consider for protecting your children.

1) Do you have a Guardianship Plan? – Have you identified and named a suitable guardian for your children? Deciding who will raise your children if anything happens to you is something all parents discuss, but it is important to actually place the name of this person on a legal document. It may also be important to consider placing a “back-up” guardian in the Will in case something should happen to the original person you choose to care for the lives of your children.

2) Is your children’s Inheritance Protected? – Is there a plan in place to ensure that your assets and property pass properly? Creating a Living Trust is one of the most helpful tools in Trust Administration to help guarantee that your children receive every asset you wish for them to acquire. Some people even choose to name their children the beneficiaries of their IRA or create Minor Education Trusts to ensure that their children’s college educations are paid for in the future.

3) Who are your Decision makers? – Are your children ready to be appointed as your trustee or personal representative? If your children are older or maybe even more mature, it is possible for you to name a child as the executor of your estate. Some children may not be fully ready to handle the pressure of making executive decision in regards to the estate of a parent that just passed on, but it is also possible to name them as a “co-executor”, which would allow them to help manage the estate and distribution of all your assets with the help of the adult executor in your Will.

4) Beneficiary Designations – Are your designations current? Do they reflect all additions to your family? Naming the proper beneficiaries in a Will or Living Trust is important and making sure these remain up-to-date is crucial. Without proper updating unintended consequences could occur, by having family members omitted or accidental beneficiaries. It is recommended that everyone update their living trust or Will annually in order to avoid any conflict in regards to beneficiary designation.