One of the biggest concerns parents with children face, particularly if these children are under the age of eighteen, is what is going to happen to them following my passing? What is going to happen to them if I become incapacitated? What is going to happen to them if both of their parents no longer can care for them? These questions, among hundreds of others, plague the minds of parents across the globe. What sorts of protections can a parent with young children put into place?
Your first step is to put together a plan now, rather than waiting until later. The last thing you want to do is put this off, and then get into an accident or suffer a medical condition where you are no longer able to care for your children. This is particularly true for single parents. What are your options?
- Start by creating a will that lists guardianship for your children. Be sure to hold several conversations with this potential guardian to ensure they are up for this new life role. You must also list a secondary guardian incase something happens with your first choice.
- Next on your list of things to do is creating a trust (or trusts) for your children so your assets can be distributed among them when they are older. This is called a revocable living trust, and should be prepared with an estate planning attorney. They will guide you strategically through this plan, and advise you as to the best way to handle these funds.
- Do you have a trusted family member or friend you can appoint to care for your children until the guardians arrive if an emergency occurs? If not, now is the time to make these arrangements. Consult with your estate planning lawyer to see if there are additional documents you must fill out and file in order to put these plans into action.
There are going to be a lot more questions coming up along the way, as well as concerns, you are going to need to address immediately. Meeting with your estate planning attorney is the best safeguard you can put into place during this planning process. They’ll make sure you haven’t forgotten anything, and they will alert you to information you may not know about. The process may become lengthy, so try to remain as patient as possible. This process is well worth every effort.