Many of our clients hire us for estate planning purposes out of concern for their minor children. When considering how to structure your Will, these options can ensure your children are cared for and protected in the event of your untimely demise.
Foremost, your Will should specify your minor children’s caretaker if they become orphaned. The main benefit to this aspect of estate planning is your ability to consider and elect a primary and an alternate guardian to take custody of your children. By thinking through these decisions now, you give notice to those people who you appoint and you empower your family to carry out your wishes more effectively.
Next, you may help preserve your wishes by placing some restrictions on your children’s inheritance through the creation of a trust within your will. The terms of the trust can incorporate several safeguards to ensure your children have matured adequately before they receive their inheritance:
- Age-based restrictions: your child receives a predetermined percentage of his or her inheritance at various ages (i.e. 10% at 18, 25% at 20, etc.);
- Limited exceptions to age-based restrictions: enable your trustee to pay for your children’s medical care, educational expenses, or any other specified purpose; or
- Discretion to the trustee: enable your trustee to make a judgment about whether your child is mature enough to receive a portion of his or her inheritance with your wishes in mind.
Finally, when you have executed a valid Will, your estate saves time and money. In the event you died intestate (without a Will), a family member or caretaker would otherwise have to petition the court for custody of your children. These types of proceedings only serve to introduce more uncertainty and delay into your children’s lives. Additionally, an attorney must also petition the probate court to appoint someone to administer your estate. This process is more difficult and expensive without a valid Will.
If you are ready to move forward with the estate planning process, please contact our Forsyth County, Georgia law office for an appointment today!
The above is intended for general information purposes only.