When you start estate planning as a young family, there tend to be some differences involved, especially if you have young children. You need to ensure that your family will be financially sound and that there is a plan for them if you were to pass away. It’s important as a younger family to have at least a basic estate plan in place, to guarantee your wishes for your children are carried out.
Choosing the Right Guardian for Your Children
You want to ensure your child or children will be left with someone you trust to protect your children. Without appointing someone, the court will do so, and the person is generally a family member or a close family friend. This decision should be made by you and your partner since you know who will raise your children the way you want them to be.
Who Will Manage Your Children’s Finances?
After you choose who will be your children’s guardian, you will also have to consider who will manage their money and property until they reach the appropriate age. You can choose the same person or two different people, but you need to make sure that if it’s two separate people that they are on the same page as your wishes. You can also choose to establish a trust to manage your children’s inheritance more effectively. Not only will this reduce costs when settling an estate, but it will make it easier for distributing your assets to your children.
Create a Will or Living Will
A will’s purpose is to outline how you would like your property distributed and without one, the court will put one and place that might not be exactly what you would want. In Massachusetts, if both you and your partner pass away without a will and you have kids, your assets such as your property will be distributed evenly to your children.
How is a Will Created?
In Massachusetts, there are a few different things that must happen for the will to be put into action once you pass away:
- The person must be of sound mind
- The person must be 18 years of age or older
- The will must be written
- The will must be witnessed by two people
Who Will Make Medical and Financial Decisions if I Can’t?
While some people believe that estate planning is just in the context of someone passing away, it can also be more. You can create an estate plan if you’re sick or seriously injured making you unable to make comprehensive decisions for yourself. With the help of a durable power of attorney for your finances or health care agent for your health, this will ensure someone will be able to assist you in making decisions.
Do you have a child with autism that needs extra support? Read this blog here, “Autism Awareness Month: Special Needs Planning,” to guide you with that process. I work with my clients to clear up any confusion and answer any questions. I make it my goal to be sure you feel comfortable and confident in your decision making. If you’re thinking about starting your estate plan process, feel free to contact me today!