A surprising number of people think that it is safe and reasonable to wait to create an estate plan until they are about ready to retire. The obvious issue with this approach is that it leaves a person with little protection during their working life.
It can also leave their closest family members in a dangerous situation. Even if do you trust that your spouse could take care of your kids if anything happened to you, you should really consider creating an estate plan to help protect your kids in case anything does happen. What are some of the ways an estate plan benefits your children as you get older?
They have a guardian they can trust
If you die without naming someone to serve as a guardian for your children, they could wind up in foster care or even a state home after your death. Something could happen to your spouse or the other parent of your children, putting them in a very vulnerable position. You have the right to name a guardian in your will, and doing so protects your children during what could be the most difficult time of their lives.
Your estate plan can protect their inheritance
If your children aren’t yet adults when you die, the person who takes over their care will control their inheritance. That could be a guardian you name or maybe your ex-spouse. That other person could use up all of the assets you wanted your children to benefit from after your death. Creating a trust helps preserve assets for your children to use in the future even if they are quite young when you die.
Your estate plan can protect them from difficult decisions
If your children are older, then they may find themselves in a difficult position in the event of an emergency. Especially if you delegate authority to them in any of your documents, such as a medical power of attorney, they may need to make difficult decisions on your behalf.
A thorough estate plan that includes information about your medical preferences takes the pressure off of your children. Even if you didn’t trust them to one of those crucial roles in the event of your incapacitation, the guidance that you provide will give them peace of mind and let them know that they will follow your wishes rather than imposing their own preferences on your situation.
Understanding how estate planning helps protect your children could motivate you to create documents earlier in life.