We understand that as a parent of young children, most of your day to day focus is on caring for your children. This focus needs to extend to your estate planning as well. Here are 4 important estate planning documents that parents of young children need to have.
You name guardians for your minor children in your will. Be sure to get the guardian’s permission before naming them. This best ensures that the guardian will serve when needed. Name back up guardians as well, just in case your primary guardian is unable or unwilling to serve when needed.
- Revocable Living Trust
Minor children cannot inherit directly; they, however, can be named as beneficiaries of life-time trusts that provide for their needs and are managed by a trustee. When your child becomes an adult she can act as a co-trustee. These assets can even be asset protected, so they can’t be taken in a subsequent divorce, bankruptcy, business failure, or lawsuit.
- Stand-by Guardianship; Child Care Power of Attorney; Temporary Guardianship Authorization
Stand-by Guardianship; Child Care Power of Attorney; and Temporary Guardianship Authorization are all names for the same document. Because the guardians in your will only have authority to act if you are deceased, you need to authorize these same guardians to care for and make decisions for your children if you are alive, but somehow incapacitated, and unable to care for them. Again, name contingent temporary guardians.
- First Responder Authorization
The First Responder Authorization authorizes trusted friends and neighbors to stay with your children until your named guardians arrive to take them into their custody. Include trusted friends and neighbors who can get to your house within 15 minutes. This is about how long the police will stay in your home before taking your children into protective custody (i.e. foster care.)
If you are the parents of young children, you need comprehensive estate planning, incorporating these documents. Be sure to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.