Parents of adult children with disabilities know that their child's disability needs may change over…
We work hard to make sure our young children are safe, happy and healthy. We look in to their eyes and feel an innate need to ensure their well-being. We take them to the doctors at the earliest sign of a cold. We read the ingredients in anything and everything that goes on or in their little bodies. In a nutshell, we exist to protect them.
But what happens when we are not around?
For many young parents, such as myself, the thought of not being able to take care of our children may seem incomprehensible, but anything in life is possible. That’s why you need a plan.
This plan is called an estate plan, but it should really be called a “Life Plan,” because you’re planning to protect all the important things in your life. In my opinion the basics of the “Life Plan” should include a Will, a Durable Power of Attorney, a Health Care Proxy, and a Living Will.
Young parents often avoid estate planning because they believe that they don’t have enough assets for it to be worthwhile, are too young, or can’t afford an attorney. But these are common misconceptions. You are never too young to plan for your family’s future, and to protect your greatest asset – your children.
The most important aspect of an estate plan for young parents is naming a guardian for the children. The guardian is the person who will care for the children should both parents die before the children turn 18 years old. It’s important to select someone you trust to raise your children, and discuss your selection with the person before executing your will.
When making your selection you should consider the age of the person, and whether they will be able to provide sufficient care. You should also name a secondary guardian in case the primary guardian is unable or unwilling to serve. The same considerations should apply to the secondary guardian as well.
It is also necessary to provide for the financial future of your children. If both parents die before the children turn 18 years old, the children will not be able to receive assets outright. In this case a person must be designated to manage the assets for the children. This person will have the authority to spend the children’s assets as they think you would have.
The bottom line is that no one knows what tomorrow will bring, but we can all plan for the worst. Protect your greatest assets by creating a Life Plan today.
By Eric J. Einhart, Esq. – Guest Blogger