If you have children, then you should absolutely have an estate plan.
An estate plan encompasses more than just a trust; it includes ensuring you have beneficiaries for all of your property, whether it is specifically named in your trust or on the accounts themselves.
There are various tools in an estate plan that you can use to protect your children.
In your trust, you can use a clause to protect your children should you and their other parent pass away before they reach a certain age. In this clause, you can designate an individual to be Trustee and use your assets solely for the benefit of your children. You can specify exactly what you want the funds to be used for and put restrictions on how the money can be spent. You can also designate an age at which your children will receive the remaining funds to spend how they please.
Guardians: In your will, you can designate the person (or persons) you want to care for your children should you and their other parent pass away before they reach the age of 18. This guardian will care for your children both financially and personally. This could be a family member or a close friend. You will want to make sure the guardian you choose is aware of your wishes and is ready to accept that responsibility. You can designate the same person to be the Trustee and Guardian or you can designate two different people, depending.
Designate Beneficiaries: Both in your trust and in other circumstances, you need to designate who you want to receive your assets. If you don’t do this, then your children may not inherit the property you want to go to them; it may also cause tension in the family as they sort through the probate process, especially if the assets aren’t owned in the name of the trust. Other circumstances would include designating beneficiaries on bank accounts, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts.
Questions on how to use your estate plan to protect your children? If so, then please give me a call at (858) 792-3444.