Young families are busy! They are often raising young children and at the beginning stages of their careers. When it comes to estate planning for families in Virginia, it is often at the bottom of their priority list – if it is even on the list at all!
But, I’d like to help bump that priority up by explaining several reasons why young families need estate planning.
- Who will raise your children if you can’t?
The odds are in your favor here, but there is a chance that something could happen to you and your spouse. If that happens, who will raise your children? Will anyone step up? Will there be a fight among your families about who raises them? You can avoid all of this trauma for your children by naming a guardian in your will. Remember, assuming guardianship of minor children is a major responsibility. Be sure to ask your preferred guardian if they would be willing to take over the responsibility first, especially if your child has special needs.
- How will your money and property be left to your children?
If you do not have an estate plan in place, upon your death, your children who are under 18 would inherit their share of your estate and it would be held in trust in their name. Your children would then have access to those assets at age 18. Most parents think that leaving money to an 18-year-old would be a bad idea. You can control this by specifying in your will that your child’s inheritance should be held in trust for them until age 25, for example. A Special Needs Trust is an equally vital tool if your child has disabilities to ensure the inheritance you are leaving behind for him or her does not prevent them from receiving key public benefits such as Medicaid.
- What happens to your family if one of you become incapacitated?
It’s not pleasant to think about, but what happens to your children and your spouse if you become incapacitated? With an estate plan, you and your spouse will create powers of attorney. These documents will allow someone that you name to act on your behalf for medical and financial matters. Usually, people pick their spouse to serve but you might choose to ask others. Having these documents in place means that bills will continue to be paid and that someone who knows you well can make medical decisions that you would have made on your own if you could.
Parents – take steps to protect your family, even while your kids are young. Once you’ve done so, you’ll experience a sense of peace that you didn’t even know you were missing. Take the time to call the Fairfax Virginia law firm of Sheri R. Abrams at 571-328-5795 today to schedule a consultation.