While states, including Massachusetts, have been slowly re-opening, coronavirus (COVID-19) is still a serious problem. Policymakers and scientists are still unsure whether we will see a spike in COVID-19 cases, or a second wave, as more states begin loosening restrictions on stay-at-home orders. This pandemic has spurred many Massachusetts parents to consider whether they’ve planned enough to protect their children should the worst happen.
The Coronavirus Has Fueled an Interest in Estate Planning
Many families of young children are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to not being able to use child care, many parents have lost income and are in charge of virtual learning with their children. On top of these struggles, parents are understandably worried about the safety and health of their children.
Estate planning is always important, but it has begun especially important during the current pandemic. The number of people who have died from coronavirus has increased in Massachusetts during the last two months. Parents who are over the age of 60 or who have chronic illnesses have a higher chance of dying due to the coronavirus. If you are a parent, now is the best time to ensure that you have your estate planning documents in order.
Estate Planning Goals for Parents of Young Children
The goal of estate planning is to help your children thrive after you are no longer here. By taking the time to create necessary estate planning documents, you will also prevent serious negative consequences from happening. For example, without advance legal planning for your children, Child Protective Services (CPS) could take custody of your child. This can happen even if you have a legally valid will in place and you have a living trust. Understandably, parents do not want their children in the custody of strangers, especially after experiencing a tragic event.
By effectively setting up your estate plan, you will avoid your child being placed in the care of someone you wouldn’t want to raise your children. A Massachusetts judge could appoint someone who appears to be a decent custodian of your children, but who you know to be a bad choice for your children. You do not want your children to be involved in a drawn-out custody fight in the event that people challenge the guardian that you designated for your children.
Another important goal involves protecting your assets for the benefit of your children. The probate process results in your assets being tied up. You could lose up to 5 percent of the value of your assets due to court costs and other unnecessary fees. As a parent, you want your children to have all of the resources they need to thrive throughout their childhood. With advanced legal planning, you can ensure that your children will have enough assets for their childhoods. You may desire to create a trust that will pay out a certain amount per year after your child turns 18 so they do not spend their entire inheritance check.
We Plan from a Parent’s Perspective
If you are a parent in Southeastern Massachusetts, and you’ve decided to engage in estate planning, Surprenant & Beneski, PC is here to help. Many estate planning attorneys do not engage in estate planning from the perspective of parents of minor children.
When you work with Surprenant & Beneski, PC, however, you can rest assured that we will create your estate with the interests of your children at the forefront. Contact our Southeastern Massachusetts estate planning lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation.