Estate Planning for Families With Young Children: Choosing a Guardian

Which life event, more than any other, spurs people to get serious about estate planning?

Having children.

Making sure that your kids are provided for is the primary goal of estate planning for most parents. There are many decisions to make and many options available to parents about how their assets can be best preserved and used for the benefit of their children.

But parents also face the daunting prospect of deciding who will care for, protect, and look after their minor children if an unexpected tragedy strikes and they are no longer around to do it themselves. Without an estate plan that specifically identifies a guardian for your kids, you could be leaving this critical decision in the hands of a judge whom you’ll never meet and who doesn’t know your children.

Choosing a Guardian

Choosing your child’s guardian requires a great deal of thought and discussion. Picking a guardian for your child involves considering what your wishes are for the child, who you believe is best suited to fulfill those wishes, and who is willing to assume such a huge responsibility.

If you are a parent of a young child or anticipate having a child in the near future, here are seven things to consider when considering a guardian for your children:

  1. Whom do you trust implicitly to put your child’s interests first?
  2. Whose temperament, values, and parenting style most parallel your own?
  3. Who has the sense of responsibility and thoughtfulness to raise your child?
  4. Who has the financial resources and stability to provide for your child’s needs when the assets you have provided for their benefit are gone?
  5. Who will be conscientious about following your expressed wishes as to such things as religion, education, goals, and values?
  6. Who can you and your spouse both agree upon as a suitable guardian?
  7. Who is willing to accept the responsibility of raising your child?

Estate Planning Is Critical for Parents of Children With Special Needs

When planning for children with special needs, it’s important to consider the idea of a special needs trust or supplemental needs trust. When you pass away, you want to make sure your child with special needs has access to the financial resources they require for their care as well as a guardian appointed to look out for and handle their unique needs.

An essential consideration of special needs planning is ensuring that you don’t inadvertently jeopardize the child’s ability to access to all the additional resources and support that may be available to them, including benefits through government programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), in addition to any benefits provided by the State of Michigan.

Consult an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer Today

All of the estate planning attorneys at Kreis Enderle understand how difficult it is to think about not being around for your kids. But we also have seen what happens when the tragedy of a child losing his or her parents is compounded by confusion, conflict, and a lack of control over what happens when parents haven’t made their wishes clear. That is why we work closely with young families to ensure that the love and care that parents have for their children will endure no matter what happens.

Please contact us today to start planning for tomorrow.

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