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Planning for New Parents and Young Families

 

If asked about the need for a couple in their 60’s to have an estate plan, most would say yes.  Ask the same question regarding the estate plan needs of a young family and the response seems to fall on deaf ears.  A common thread in these scenarios is the fact that death is inevitable.
 
But, there is still the hesitant voice from a young family insisting, “We have no real assets so how can there be an estate?”   For most people, young and old and yes those with $100 or millions, an estate plan can put to rest some very important life decisions and/or changes.
 

5 basic targets for a young family:

 
1) Set out who will care for the children

Talking about who would take care of the children is a starting point.  Making your wishes known to others is good next step. But the odds of wishes being carried out are far less likely to occur if they are not written down.  Parents may think they made their wishes clear but in all likelihood, there will be disagreements.

By naming a guardian in your will, parents insure their wishes are honored.  Parents will also want to consider the guardian’s:   

 
2) Set out how property will be managed until the children are older
If this is not set out in the parent’s will or estate, the court will act as conservator to manage the property for the child.  Leaving assets to minor children in trust, with the management done by a designated trusted person, is a desired solution.

3) Set out how and to whom personal possessions and any other assets will be distributed
Without a huge amount of savings or other liquid assets it probably does not feel like it’s worth the effort to make a plan. But, in the absence of a will, property is disposed by the court and according to state law.

4) Set out who will be responsible for managing the estate
Upon a person’s death, certain actions are required: closing bank accounts, administering the estate, paying debts, etc. This personal representative can be named in the will, if none is stated, the court will appoint one, with cost incurred and a delay in settling the estate. 

5) Set out who will make financial and health related decisions if you’re unable to do so
Part of estate planning is determining what should happen when we are still alive but perhaps unable to act on our own accord. This ‘disability planning’ aspect of estate planning includes designating individuals to make financial and healthcare decisions on our behalf in the event of incapacity.  Critical documents are power of attorney for healthcare and another one for finances.

A young family’s estate plan goes a very long way to providing for the needs of children and loved ones.  An estate plan attorney will walk a young family through the process step by step to insure every possible scenario has been considered.  

"Excellent service based on expert knowledge. Working with Corey was fantastic. My wife and I were setting up a new business, and needed to have a complete estate plan established. Corey not only covered the basics, but included important protections for our children’s future that I never would have thought of. He also made sure we understood how to use the information in order to update other assets like life insurance. I have recommended Corey to several of my friends, and will continue to do so without reservation." - Tim (Belton, MO)