Becoming a parent is an amazing – and often terrifying – experience. As a parent, you undoubtedly want to protect and provide for your child. Not only must you do that daily, but you also need to plan for the possibility that your child will need your protection and financial security if something happens to you and you are unable to do so yourself. Toward that end, a New York estate planning attorney at Amato Law PLLC explains why if you have a minor child, estate planning is crucial.
How Estate Planning Can Protect Your Child
You want a stable and financially secure life for your child. You probably also want to pass down your wisdom, ideals, and belief system to your child. While you are present and capable of doing so, you can do all these things yourself. What happens, however, if you are not here one day or are not capable of providing financial security and protection to your child? A comprehensive estate plan can help you prepare for that possibility.
Your minor child cannot legally inherit from your estate in the event of your death. Consequently, someone must manage the assets you leave behind for your child(ren). Your estate plan lets you decide for yourself who that person will be by establishing a trust and choosing a Trustee. It is also your opportunity to create guidelines and rules to be followed regarding how that inheritance can be spent using the trust terms. Furthermore, if your children are minors, they will need a legal guardian if the worst were to occur and neither parent is able to care for them. Again, your estate plan offers the only official method of telling a judge who you want to act as your child’s guardian.
The need for careful estate planning does not when your child reaches adulthood. Though your child(ren) may stand to inherit through intestate succession, you probably want specific assets to be passed down to specific beneficiaries, hence the continues need for an estate plan. Making your wishes clear also greatly diminishes the likelihood of litigation when your estate goes through the probate process following your death.
Common Estate Planning Tools for Parents
Many basic estate planning tools and strategies can be used to protect and provide for your child while he/she is young as well as when your child reaches adulthood.
Starting with your Last Will and Testament, you can ensure that specific assets are passed down to the beneficiaries of your choosing. You will also be able to appoint your Executor and nominate someone to be your child’s guardian if one is ever needed.
While your child is a minor, a trust can be established to protect and manage the inheritance you leave behind for your children. As the Settlor of the trust, you choose the Trustee who will manage the trust assets and administer the trust using the terms you create. That same trust can be used to stagger your child’s inheritance when he/she is older to avoid leaving a young adult a sizeable lump sum inheritance. Once your child is an adult, including an advance directive and funeral planning in your estate plan ensures both that your wishes will be honored at the end of your life and that your children will not be forced to make difficult decisions during such an emotional time.
Contact a New York Estate Planning Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns about how to protect and provide for your minor child in your estate plan, contact a New York estate planning attorney at Amato Law PLLC by calling 212-355-5255 to schedule an appointment.
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