Estate planning for parents with young children

Estate planning for parents of minor children

Estate planning is not just for the wealthy, and it is not just for the elderly. Parents of young children need to plan for the care of their children if both parents should pass away while the children are still minors.

1- Planning for the financial care of your minor children.

Without a Will: If a parent dies without a Will, state law provides for a portion of the parent’s property to pass to their surviving children at the parent’s death. If property is inherited outright by minor children, a judge would appoint a responsible person, the Guardian of the estate, to care for the inherited property. A court-supervised guardianship can be expensive and burdensome and requires annual reports to the court of all expenditures. Another downside: the assets in the guardianship become the property of the minor when the child reaches age 18.  [Read more…]

Is it good to have joint accounts with rights of survivorship?

Q: Is it good to hold my assets in joint accounts with rights of survivorship?

A: If you want the joint owner to have the property after your death without going through probate, a joint account will accomplish that. However, joint ownership can complicate matters in the estate planning context in ways that you may not have considered.  [Read more…]

Families should talk about estate planning

Deborah L. Jacobs, author of a new book, Estate Planning Smarts, has an article in the New York Times about the importance of parents talking with their adult children about their estate planning.  These talks can be difficult to start but the benefits are worth it. The article includes examples of situations where having the talk was critical to avoiding later problems. Jacobs also includes tips on how to get started if either party is uncomfortable with the topic.  [Read more…]