Estate Planning For Young Parents
New parents typically view their twenties and thirties as an exciting time in their lives—a time where they have the luxury of enjoying their good health, watching their kids grow, and building a future. While there isn’t a parent alive who doesn’t distress about what might happen to their children in the event of an early demise, most assume that they will live to see their children reach adulthood. Statistically speaking, this argument makes sense, but probabilities are never certainties. Sometimes even the simple act of driving a motor vehicle can have fatal consequences.
As a parent, you work hard to make sure that all of your child’s present and future needs are met: clothing, food, education, social activities, a college fund, transportation, et cetera. But what would happen if you were to have an accident and were no longer around to take care of that child? Certainly, the emotional trauma to your son or daughter would be devastating, but there are other issues to consider as well. For instance, if both you and the other parent die in the same accident, who is going to raise your child? If the other parent survives, how will he or she afford to maintain your child’s lifestyle without your income? How much money needs to be left behind to ensure that your child will be able to go to college?
Many of these questions can be answered with a well-drafted will. A will informs your survivors (ex. a surviving spouse, parents, or children) what you intend to be done with regards to your minor children. Without a will in place, the consequences could be disastrous:
- Someone who you don’t care for or who you believe would be an unfit parent could end up raising your kids.
- There could be a free-for-all custody battle for your children.
- No one could step forward to take custody of your children.
- Multiple siblings could be split apart and raised separately.
An estate planning attorney in Virginia can assist you with drafting a will that stipulates who will raise your children, defines what’s to be done with the money that’s set aside for them, and addresses any other concerns that you may have. In addition, estate planning lawyers can develop a trust for your child. A trust allows a third party of your choosing (the trustee) to release funds as they see fit for the beneficiary (your child in this case). Some or all of the proceeds of your estate can be placed in a trust that your child can only access through the trustee until he or she reaches adulthood. This is a useful estate planning tool that allows parents a great deal of flexibility.
Answering “what if” questions about your children can be emotional and depressing. However, not answering them can actually damage their future. Regardless of age, if you have minor children, you owe it to them and to yourself to contact a reputable estate planning attorney and draw up a will. Our Annandale estate attorneys are here for you.
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