Estate Planning for Young Families
Along with the joy of welcoming a new life, new routines, and total sleep deprivation, children also bring with them a bevy of new expenses. Between health care, day care, diapers, formula, food, clothing, cribs, bibs, toys and books it all adds up quickly. However, and perhaps most importantly, comes the realization of one’s responsibility for the future of your little human(s). While almost unthinkable amidst the celebration of birth and the joys of watching your little one grow, a seed of concern is sowed in every parent’s mind – what happens if something happens to me?
Simply put, Estate Planning isn’t just for retirees. Whether you have just welcomed your first, or are at 19 and counting, here’s what you need to know: an effective estate plan will encompass both the legal and the practical – what am I leaving (think: bank accounts, stocks, 401Ks, real estate, life insurance, etc.) and where should it go (think: who should get what I leave and how should it be dispersed). If you don’t have a Will in place when you pass away, the statutes of your state of residency at the time of your passing will decide where your property goes. The laws, of course, are not tailored to your life, family, or financial situation and can lead to undesirable outcomes and otherwise avoidable court involvement. Where should you start? With an appointment with a member of the Estate Planning team at Atlantic Coast Law. What can you expect at your appointment? We take your Estate Planning seriously, and we are thorough, but we are also focused on making sure that your plan is cost-effective. Let’s dive in:
- A Power of Attorney for both general (think: financial) matters and health care decisions along with an Advance Directive (Living Will) will be a foundational part of your planning. These documents will help ensure that everything that needs to happen will happen the way you want it to if you become incapacitated.
- A Will allows you to decide where all of your earthly belongings (everything from real estate to baseball cards, to financial accounts and just about everything in between) will go and to whom. Within the Will, we will include a Declaration of Guardian for Minor Children Clause. Every parent of a minor child (under 18 years of age) needs to do this.
- A Trust is, in most applications, a planning tool that provides incredible flexibility and power over what happens after you are gone. Your minor children cannot legally inherit your assets directly from you. Without a trust, any assets will be governed by and through the courts. This will be a topic of considerable discussion in our meeting together – we will review the ins and outs of trusts and be ready to answer any questions you might have.
- Life Insurance – Insurance can be a crucial part of any estate plan. It can provide the necessary income to support your family – providing for everything from cost of living, and healthcare, to educational expenses and more. We aren’t in the insurance business, and won’t be selling you anything, but we will talk about your assets and where we might see shortfalls in your estate plan. If we can help, we will. Already have insurance? Great, we will provide you with the information you need to make sure any proceeds from your insurance will dovetail with your estate planning as seamlessly as possible.
While this may feel overwhelming, don’t allow that feeling to prevent you from planning. From beginning to end, this process won’t take as much of your time as you may think, and we can work with just about any budget. We can’t remember the last time we had a client walk out of our office without mentioning the feeling of relief and assurance with knowing that they have a plan in place to take care of their loved ones. We can’t wait to help you achieve that same feeling. Reach out to us on our website, via social media or give us a call today.