When parents on the treasure coast come talk to us about estate planning, they often have questions about their children. They want to know what, if anything, they can do to protect their children through their estate plans.
Anyone who is a parent or guardian of a minor child needs to address an array of issues when creating an estate plan. A comprehensive plan will make sure your children are protected no matter what the future holds. Here is what you should know about your children and your Florida estate plan.
Should my children create an estate plan?
Some parents who come talk to us want to know if they need to make an estate plan for their children, or if the children need to make a plan of their own. While this question is understandable, it isn’t really a possibility under the law.
In order to make an estate plan, a person must be a mentally competent adult. Even if your children are intelligent, capable, and mature, they cannot make any type of estate planning choices until they become an adult.
As a parent, however, you have the ability to make a plan that provides for their protection. You can do this by creating specific estate planning tools that address a number of different issues.
What issues will I have to address?
Like anyone who creates an estate plan, your plan will focus on a variety of different issues. The particular issues your plan addresses, however, will be determined by your needs and desires.
When you are a parent of a young child, your plan will have to address two key issues. Namely, it will focus on what happens to your children should you die or become incapacitated.
For example, you will have to create an estate plan that addresses what kinds of inheritances you want to leave your children, and how you should leave them in order to best protect them. When you create a testamentary trust that distributes the inheritances to the children when they become adults, you will also include terms that provide for a structured, periodic, distribution of the inheritances over a longer time?
And what about providing for the needs of your children if you become incapacitated? Who will care for them in your absence? Who will pay for their needs? If you die, who would you want to become the legal guardian?
There is no single answer to any of these questions. Regardless of your personal choices, however, you will need to have specific tools to ensure your wishes are protected. Your attorney will explain each of these tools to you in detail.