Estate Planning is important no matter your age and family status, but oftentimes people overlook this crucial step when starting their families. Having a detailed estate plan in place helps make sure that in the event of your incapacitation or death, your wishes are carried out and your family is taken care of. Some of the questions you want to make sure you answer in your estate plan include:
Who will be the executor or trustee for your estate?
The executor or trustee of your estate will be responsible for handling your financial affairs in the event of your death. They will need to be willing and able to handle paying final bills, distributing assets, hiring attorneys, and any other final decisions that need to be made.
Who will you name as guardian for your minor children?
In most situations, if something happens to one parent, the other parent will continue to raise their children. What you need to make sure you have a plan for is if something were to happen to both of you. This is a difficult but important decision to make - if you fail to name a guardian the court will appoint one regardless of your wishes.
What instructions do you need to outline for the distribution of your assets?
Most couples will leave all of their assets to their spouse in the event of their death, and generally, if both parents pass, the assets will go towards caring for their children. If there are any specific instructions for your assets you need to make sure to put them in writing. - A durable power of attorney (unlike a traditional POA) continues upon a patient being deemed incapacitated and is one of several essential incapacity planning documents.
Who will be the manager of your children’s inheritance?
Most parents have specific wishes for how their children will inherit assets. Without a detailed plan and a manager of the inheritance, children will generally get all of their inheritance when they turn 18. If you would rather your children get their inheritance over time instead of all at once, a trust is a great option.
What are your life and other insurance needs?
Do you have life insurance? Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance? These policies can go a long way in protecting and providing for your young family in the instance of your passing.
What is your plan for disability or incapacity?
Death isn’t the only situation that may make it impossible for you to continue to provide for and take care of your family. You will want to make sure you have a plan in place that will provide instructions should you become incapacitated or disabled.