4. Why You Need Guardians If You Have Young Children.

This is part 4 in my series, Estate Planning – What You Need to Know.

Why You Need Guardians if You Have Young Children.

If you have young children, the most important part of your estate plan is naming the guardians to raise your children if something happens to you and your spouse.

Typically, the guardians are named in the will. If the estate plan has a revocable living trust, the guardians are named in the pour-over will.

Naming guardians is not easy.  But if you have young children, you have to do it. If you don’t name guardians and something happens to you and your spouse, the court will have to decide who will raise your children.

Some of my clients have an easy time naming guardians. They have parents or siblings who are well qualified.

But many of my clients aren’t so lucky. They have a hard time deciding on the right people.

Here’s what I tell my clients who can’t decide on a guardian.

First. No one will be as good as you. No one is perfect (except you of course). If you are gone, someone you choose is better than the court choosing.

Second. The only people you can really choose from are those already in your personal network. Your network consists of your family and close friends. Some good. Some bad. Be realistic. Make the best choice of those in your network. That’s all you can do.

Third. You can always change your mind later. Most of my clients change their guardians every few years as their situation changes. You may meet someone with similar nurturing skills or your relatives may have matured into better parents.

Just know your choice is not permanent. Every decision we make today can only be made based on what we know today. If tomorrow changes, you can change your plan.

Knowing you can change your choice of guardians should take the pressure off. Your choice doesn’t have to be perfect, but you do need to choose.

Next up – Part 5. What if You Only Have a Will?

Vacation Planning

School is out or almost out and you may have lined up a vacation or two.

Now is a good time to check to see if you have a plan in place to protect your family if something happens to you. Do you have enough life insurance for your spouse and children to make ends meet if something happens to you? Have you done a will to name guardians to raise your children if something happens to you and your spouse? Have you done a living trust to make sure your assets go where you want them to go in an easy and cost effective way – without probate? And if you have done a will and living trust, are they up to date? Are you still ok with the person you named five years ago to raise your children?

Estate planning doesn’t have to be a downer. It can be done quickly and simply, and you will feel good when you finish, knowing you’ve protected your family.

Estate Planning is Not Complicated

hand holding key

If you have a family, you need to protect it. It’s your job.

If you die, what happens to your spouse and children? The solution can be simple. An estate plan and life insurance. The estate plan usually involves a living trust and the life insurance can be a 20 year term policy. That will protect most families. It doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does have to be done. Don’t make it more complicated than it has to be.

Guardians. Of the people you know, who is the best one to raise your kids if needed, Hint – not some best case scenario person you haven’t met yet, but the best of the people you know. For good or bad, your choice is limited to the people you already know. Who is the best of those?  You can always change your selection. Better that you to choose, then have the court choose for you.

Life Insurance. If you are healthy, term life insurance can be surprisingly affordable. Talk to your insurance adviser and lock in a 20 year term policy.