As your kids get ready to return to school, have you done your Estate Planning homework?

The school season is right around the corner. If you are a parent, you have likely bought your little one some new clothes, book covers, pens, paper and other school supplies.  However, plenty of parents have not prepared for the possibility of prematurely departing this plane of existence.  Have you thought about how your kids would fare in the event that you pass away during their youth, teens or early adult years? Though pondering such a possibility is inherently depressing, it must be done to ensure your loved ones enjoy a financially stable future. 

Is a Guardian Listed in Your Will? 

If something were to happen to you that rendered you mentally or physically incapacitated or caused your death, your kids would be in quite the unfortunate position. However, you have the power to ensure your kids are in good hands should you pass away or no longer prove capable of caring for them. Establishing guardianship through the proper legal language in your will ensures a trusted individual provides care for your children. If a legal guardian is not named in the will, the court will decide the individual who serves as your child’s guardian.

How Will Money Issues be Handled for Your Children?

Truly comprehensive estate planning involves the careful consideration of all financial and legal tools available to secure your child’s financial future. As an example, it might be prudent to purchase life insurance. If you pass away during your working years, your life insurance policy will kick in, providing your spouse and your offspring with much-needed financial support so they can maintain their quality of life moving forward.  

If both you and your spouse pass away, the proceeds from your life insurance policy will be used to raise your kids through adolescence to adulthood, possibly funding the cost of their college education. Our estate planning attorney is here to help you select the best life insurance policy for your nuanced situation.

Your will details how your assets are to be distributed upon your death. Clear language that explains exactly how your assets are to be dispersed prevents family in-fighting and potential legal battles. However, if you pass away before your kids turn 18 years of age, your children won’t be able to control the money or other assets you leave them. In such an instance, the court will appoint an individual to manage the assets left to your child. Instead of giving power to the court, it is better to identify an individual who will manage the assets on behalf of your children until they are mature enough to make financial decisions on their own.  

Lean on our estate planning attorney to help you create a trust, and you will be able to name the person designated to manage your finances until your kids are adults. A trust can be detailed to the point that it provides instructions as to how the trustee uses the money to care for your offspring as they transition to adulthood. In fact, you can even establish conditions on your kids’ receiving of assets. As an example, you can require that your kids use the money you leave them to pay for the cost of a college education.

Proper Estate Planning Bypasses the Dreaded Probate Process

If something bad were to happen to you, would you want the courts to determine who cares for your children and makes decisions on their behalf? Would you want the courts to allocate your real property based on potentially warped and unfair reasoning? Our legal team is here to ensure your assets and family do not have to deal with the probate process.  

As an example, a life estate deed empowers you to allocate your real property to family members, keeping that property fully under your control up until you pass away. At this point, the property is transmitted to your family members. This approach ensures your family can grieve after your death rather than worry about a potentially unjust and lengthy probate process.  

Our estate planning attorney is here to ensure all of your desires are known well in advance by implementing them through the appropriate legal tools. This preparation sets the stage for a seamless transition after your passing, guaranteeing your kids are properly cared for and your assets are distributed exactly as you desire.

Attorney Amy Phillips, PLLC  is Here to Tailor an Estate Plan to Your Needs

If you do not have an estate plan in place, the time to create one is now. Our legal team will custom-tailor an estate plan to your unique financial position and your nuanced desires for the distribution of your assets. Once your estate plan is created, you will rest easy each time you drop off your kids at school, knowing they will have a sound financial future should you pass away.

Reach out to our law firm today to learn more about our estate planning services. If you live in Florida, call (863) 268-8292 to find out more about our legal services and schedule an appointment. If you live in Pennsylvania, call (412) 643-3999. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule a virtual consultation.