Estate Planning When You Have Young Children
For parents of toddlers, tweens, and adolescents, juggling your career along with the responsibility of raising a family can be stressful and overwhelming at times. Between taking care of your children’s current needs and planning for their future, you likely have little time to ponder what would happen in the event you were not there to provide. Unfortunately, unexpected events do happen but proper estate planning can help to ensure you are prepared. If you have young children, take the steps now to ensure they are protected.
Tools to Ensure Children Are Provided For
It is important for everyone to have a legally valid will and other estate planning documents in place, but particularly so if you are the parent of young children. In the event something unexpected happens, you want to ensure they will be protected and cared for.
If you are married, you may automatically assume the other parent would provide this care. However, this does not account for accidents or other mishaps in which you are both involved. To account for any eventuality, there are two important tools you may want to consider putting in place:
- Guardianship designation: As part of your will, you can designate a legal guardian to take care of your child in the event you are unable to. This should be someone who is able and willing to assume this enormous responsibility, as well as someone you trust to make important decisions on your child’s behalf, raising them the way you would have wanted.
In the event of your passing, a “Petition for Appointment of Guardian” is filed with the New York Court in the county where the child resides and a hearing will be conducted, where the judge will officially appoint the person you select.
- A revocable trust: A trust allows you to put money aside for your child and to dictate the terms under which they receive it and how it is spent. This is important for both young children as well as for older teens, who may not be able to handle large sums and generally lack discipline in their spending. Forbes advises it can add an extra level of assurance, ensuring costs such as college, weddings, and a down payment for a home are provided for. Creating a trust also eliminates the need to place the added financial responsibility of managing money on the child’s guardian.
For parents, additional tools which can help to protect your children include advance directives, which provide guidance in the event you are incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes yourself. Consider creating a living will and a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, while designating someone to act as a health care power of attorney.
Contact Us Today for Help
At Cavallo & Cavallo, we can help you create an estate plan that ensures your children are provided for in any eventuality. Call or contact our New York estate planning attorneys online and request a confidential consultation in our Bronx or Westchester office today.