As a parent, nothing is more important than ensuring the well-being of your children. As difficult as it can be to prepare for your children’s lives in the event of your death, having a secure plan in place may help ease some of your worries. You can create a last will and testament and choose a guardian with legal authority to care for your children, but to ensure you leave behind a legacy that your children can continue throughout their lives, you may wish to consider creating a comprehensive estate plan.
Let us share with you some common questions our clients ask us about choosing a guardian and establishing an estate plan for the benefit of their children.
1. How do I know I have chosen the right person as my children’s guardian?
Choosing a person to care for your children in the event of your death should not be taken lightly. You need to feel comfortable that the person you choose shares your core values and understands your parenting goals. It is inevitable that your chosen guardian will have his or her own parenting style, but ideally, he or she will be respectful of the legacy you leave behind. Remember, circumstances change over time. It is important to regularly consider your selection and not to hesitate to make changes as needed.
2. Do I need to agree with my spouse about who to appoint as guardian?
It is essential that you and your spouse agree on your selection for guardian. An estate plan can provide you with a flexible outlet to outline both of your goals and wishes for your children’s care. With the guidance of your estate planning attorney, you can help avoid a scenario where one spouse is the “winner” of the argument of who to designate as your children’s guardian. Just as it is important for you and your guardian to be on the same page, you and your spouse should mutually agree on who that guardian should be.
3. Should I discuss creating an estate plan with an attorney?
The short answer? Absolutely. Estate planning is a complex area that is best discussed with an experienced attorney. He or she can provide you with information on all components of estate planning and suggest the best plan that fits your unique needs. Without the assistance of an estate planning attorney, you may not be aware of all the planning options available to you and the execution requirements in your state. While the attorney is available to provide you with legal advice, he or she can also act as a support system for you while you are navigating through this overwhelming time.
Did this article leave you with unanswered questions about leaving a legacy for your children? Do not wait to contact our office to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys. We are here to guide and support you through the estate planning process.