With so many challenges and uncertainties in life, you always need to have a contingency plan in place. Furthermore, as a parent or legal guardian of young children, you are likely thinking about how you can look after them in the event of an emergency or tragedy. However, you can take solace in the fact that you have access to legal resources that enable you to protect your family via an estate plan.
Estate plans are incredibly resourceful when it comes to providing legal and financial guarantees for your family (especially children). Here are six ways in which you can protect them:
#1 – Designating a legal guardian for your children in your will
Who is going to take care of your children if you were to pass away suddenly? Obviously, this is a question that many of us avoid asking, but you need to ensure that the proper arrangements are in place to protect your children. Otherwise, you are leaving it up to the courts to determine who will assume custody of your children and raise them. It’s always better to strategize ahead of time and take steps to put a plan in place than to leave it to the court later.
Related post: 6 Life Events That Could Change Your Estate Plan
#2 – Naming your children as beneficiaries
If you plan to name your children as beneficiaries of your assets, it’s critical that you have an estate plan in place that distributes these assets not only according to your wishes, but in a way that’s best for the beneficiary. Sometimes a simple pay or transfer on death beneficiary designation is all it takes, but quite often a more robust plan will have many advantages. Regardless of whether it’s a large life insurance policy or an everyday checking account, you may want to put certain provisions into your estate plan that distributes these funds at certain intervals during the kid’s lifetime instead of all at once should something happen to you.
#3 – Creating a healthcare directive
Advanced health care directives deal with the manner in which you will receive medical treatment when you are incapacitated and unable to do so yourself. Naming your child as your healthcare proxy can provide them with a certain level of comfort of knowing that if, God forbid, anything should happen to you, they are allowed to make these important medical decisions on your behalf. Keep in mind that you can set some of the terms of your healthcare directive and help to remove the burden of the decision-making process by expressing your wishes ahead of time. Your estate planning attorney will go over these provisions with you.
#4 – Establishing a living trust
Living trusts are a reliable legal solution that allows you to pass over ownership of your assets to your children and prevent the process of probate. You can also dictate the framework of the trust so that your children will receive assets according to how you see fit. A Living Trust is perhaps the best solution to ensure your wishes are actually followed, provide for detailed contingencies to keep us out of Court with that ‘what ifs’, and optimize the manner in which the inheritance passes to a child from a tax and asset protection standpoint. Our trust attorneys in San Diego can assist you in developing a living trust that suits your specific needs.
Related post: Shocking Myths and Bona Fide Facts About Living Trusts
#5 – Accounting for children from prior relationships
Perhaps you already made a contingency plan during a previous marriage. If you have new children with a new spouse, you can now make changes to your plan to accommodate your family more fairly. For example, you can establish multiple trusts to provide financial support for each child throughout their life, or you can put together an all-encompassing family trust with provisions that get to the important factors to consider with a blended family. Anytime there are children from previous relationships involved in a family dynamic, it’s very important to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney in San Diego to discuss all of the options out there and go over the pros and cons of each in accomplishing your goals.
#6 – Designating powers of attorney
In situations where you are unable to make important financial decisions, you need to have a power of attorney in place. This way you can place your trust in a close family member, such as an adult child who you believe will make the best choices. With power of attorney, they can authorize bank transactions, pay your taxes, transfer property, and much more, all without needing to go through the burdensome Probate process of obtaining a conservatorship over you.
Hire an Estate Planning Attorney in San Diego You Can Trust
The attorneys here at Jenkins & Jenkins, Estate Planning Attorneys are incredibly reliable and can plan your estate according to your wishes. We serve many different clients throughout San Diego and provide them with the peace of mind of knowing that their estate plan is in order and that their children are taken care of. Schedule an appointment with us today!
Testimonial from Pina, Satisfied Estate Planning Client
Jenkins & Jenkins redid our family trust and estate plan to fix a lot of the shortcomings we never knew existed in our old plan. They were not pushy at all and really explained how we could make our plan better, in a way that was easy to understand. Caroline and Michael took the time to learn about our goals, explain how all of the complicated tax and estate laws actually work, and put together a plan that actually addresses our needs. We now feel confident that when our plan is actually carried out one day, it will be as smooth as possible and stay far away from Probate court. Highly recommend!