The thought that you might not see your children reach adulthood is one you may not enjoy contemplating. However, it is still important to prepare for such a possibility.
Planning for minor children involves special considerations.
Appointing a guardian
One of the most important decisions you can make is deciding on a trusted individual to watch over your children if you pass before they become of age. This person will also care for their finances until they become old enough to. If you fail to appoint a guardian, the choice falls out of your hands and into the court’s, meaning you have no way of vetting whoever the court picks.
Creating a trust
Some people think listing their offspring as the beneficiaries of a large amount of money or property is enough. However, if you do this and your children inherit before they turn 18, the court appoints someone to handle their inheritance until they do. You can create a trust and appoint a trustee to make sure someone you trust manages your children’s inheritance.
Alternatively, you can give a gift to your children under the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act. The gift ends up in a custodial account until they reach a specific age when they can access it. You specify this age in your will or trust, but it must be 21 or under.
Preparing an estate plan while thinking of minor children involves more than creating one that does not. The law does not treat minors the same way it treats adults, and it is imperative to keep this in mind as you set up your will and plan.