Throughout the various stages of our lives, our estate plans get more complicated. Indeed, our first estate plan at 18 may only include a healthcare proxy and payable on death designations on our accounts. Then, as we age, we add layers of complexity. First, a will; then, after a marriage, life insurance, long-term care insurance and eventually, we add a trust. However, once we have children, there are multiple additional layers, like guardianships, 529 plans and Uniform Gifts to Minors Act and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act accounts.
Depend on your kids and your estate
What you need to add to your Abington, Pennsylvania, estate plan depends on your child’s needs and your estate. For example, a disabled child may need a lifetime of financial support, while other children may just need help until a certain age or adulthood. For particularly large estates, you may want to use a sizable portion of your estate for legacy building, and only leave a small percentage to your child.
Regardless of your child’s health, you will need to name a guardian (and backup guardians) to ensure that if you and your spouse pass, your minor children are not left to the state. Without a guardianship designation, if you both pass, your children will become wards of the state, and their welfare will be left up to a family law judge who knows nothing of you or your family.
For children with lifetime needs, a professional guardian may be needed. They may need to facilitate a group home or some other assisted-living arrangement.
The length and type of financial support will also be different based on your child. If you already set aside money for a potential guardian, you may only need a 529 plan for your child’s educational needs. Perhaps, a life insurance policy will be used to fund your child’s care until they become an adult.
However, a trust may be a more appropriate vehicle to ensure some independent oversight of your bequests. In fact, many parents elect to have all of their wealth flow into a trust to ensure that they can avoid or mitigate probate.
This also allows for there to be some independent oversight of the money given to the guardian and your child. Through the trust documents, you can outline how funds should be used and how they cannot be used. These are just a few examples of why your Abington, Pennsylvania, estate plans should be tailored for you.