Estate planning isn’t just something you should think about when you are at an “older” age. I can personally say that for the longest time, I thought you only had to write a will when you reached a certain age, and acquired certain assets. But that isn’t the case at all. Writing a will isn’t just about the assets, nor do you have to be wealthy to write one. In fact, young people should think about their estates just as much as their parents, for multiple reasons.
One of the main group of individuals who should have a will in place are those with minor children. It’s about making your wishes clear, especially when it comes to your children. Here are the top two reasons why having a will is important for all parents out there with minor children:
1) Nominating a Guardian - You decide who will care for your children. In the event that you pass away and your children do not have another capable parent to care for them, then the Court will appoint a guardian for them. Without a valid Florida will that clearly designates a guardian, you will have no say in who the Court picks. While the Court bases their decision on the best interest of the child their decision may not be one you would have been happy with. The Court typically chooses a family member but what if you had a specific family member, or a friend in mind? Without a will, the Court will not know your wishes. In these tough times, opinions flow freely and family feuds will only make things worse for your children. You can avoid this hassle by choosing the guardian ahead of time. In fact, you can explicitly state why you elected that person to be the guardian. That way any disagreements that arise, the Court will be able to read your exact wishes and the reasoning behind it.
2) Electing the right person to manage your children’s finances and the create of a Trust. In the event that you do pass away, you may need someone to look after your children’s finances. Now it could be the same person you’ve elected to be the guardian for your children. But sometimes you want the guardian over finances to be someone else. Within a will, you can create a trust for your minor children. In essence, a Trustee will be named in which the trustee will hold trust/control over the assets that you have left for your children and act in good faith to care for those assets until a pre-determined age. During this time your children still benefit from the assets but the Trustee acts as the gate keeper, ensuring they do not overspend or make unwise decisions. If you do not specify a specific age for your children to inherit your assets from your will, generally the children will inherit the assets at the time they become an adult, which is typically 18 years of age.
Lastly, young parents shouldn’t only be planning for death, but should also plan for the possibility of incapacity. Being incapacitated means losing your normal faculties, be it mental or physical. In the event you become incapacitated and have a minor child, you will need a Designation of Preneed Guardian. Essentially, this person will step into your shoes and care for your minor until they reach the age of majority or until you are no longer incapacitated.
Even though we only touched briefly on the Last Will and Testament, there are many other options to consider when it comes to estate planning. Which planning option is best for you will depend on your current situation and your goals. If you wish to discuss planning for your minor children further or are ready to begin the planning process today, please feel free to reach out to me at (954) 999- 9683. Our team and I are ready to assist you every step of the way.
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