If We Die, Are Our Kids Taken Care Of?
This is the topic no one likes to talk about, but probably one of the most important topics families NEED to plan for. I am thankful to have ihelpmoms.com provider Will, Trust and Estate Lawyer, Jennifer Gomez contribute today.
1 out of every 20 children in Broward County will lose a parent before they finish high school. I know, because I was one of them, and I know how hard it can be. As an attorney, I now devote my career to helping families plan for life’s emergencies.
Here are five of the important things parents should keep in mind:
- Name a Guardian! List several people, in order of preference, to serve as back-up parents. Include this in a legal document and have thorough conversations with each potential guardian about your parenting style and wishes.
- Create a Will and/or Trust showing who should receive your assets when you pass away. This is particularly important for blended families or in a situation where children should inherit differently.
- Children with special needs need special planning. Receiving an inheritance can jeopardize government benefits that a person with special needs would otherwise have as financial support. Special needs trusts can help maximize government benefits while using an inheritance for supplemental support.
- Consider a continuing trust to protect young or financially immature children. Without a trust your children will receive their inheritance outright at no later than 21 years old. For many teens and 20-somethings, suddenly having a lot of money can be confusing. With a trust you will select a person who can be in control to make sure this inheritance is not spent foolishly. Then, as your child is older, they can have more control over their finances.
- Legacy letters are an easy way to share love and wisdom with your children. There is probably a lot of advice you plan to share with your kids when they reach an appropriate age. Some parents write letters that will be given to their children at milestone events in their life such as earning their driver’s license, graduation, marriage and the birth of their own children. Make sure this important advice isn’t lost with you by putting it in writing.
The appropriate decisions can be effected by your family and financial situation. For more information or to schedule a complimentary estate evaluation visit www.jennifergomez.com.
(Jennifer Gomez is an attorney licensed to practice law in Florida. She has dedicated her law practice to Wills, Trusts, and Estates and frequently volunteers to provide services to low income families through Legal Aid of Broward County.)