When you plan your estate, you’re mapping out your future. When you have children, you are also mapping out their future until adulthood. Undertaking this task successfully requires the guidance of an experienced, capable estate planning attorney. If you live in Southeastern Massachusetts, you have easy access to the seasoned lawyers of Surprenant & Beneski, P.C.
Our attorneys have carefully honed estate planning skills. More than that, we are a family practice committed to providing you with the sensitivity and personal attention you deserve. While estate planning is important for everyone, it becomes crucial when you have children who depend on you.
Words Shape Actions When It Comes to Estate Planning for Your Kids
As with all extended projects (e.g. building a house, staging a musical), there is paperwork to be done. Because estate planning involves legal matters, you need legal documents:
Your Last Will and Testament Plans for Your Children’s Futures
Leaving a will accomplishes several important things:
- Naming your heirs and other beneficiaries and which assets you want them to inherit, including personally meaningful belongings.
- Designating a guardian to take care of your children if neither parent can care for them. It is important to discuss your decision with the chosen guardian to make sure they are willing to take on the role.
- Naming a personal representative (executor) who will make sure your wishes, as stated in your will, are carried out.
It is not enough to have a will; it is necessary to update it periodically according to changing circumstances. Our attorneys will follow up to make sure you do so on a regular basis.
Trusts Provide Protection for Your Children’s Resources
Trust can protect assets earmarked for your children from a number of risks, such as excessive taxation, creditors, and lawsuits.
- Revocable Living Trust — allows you to manage your assets during your lifetime and provides for their distribution after your death. A revocable trust avoids probate which can be a prolonged and costly process so that there will be a smooth transfer of wealth to your heirs.
- Education Trust — arranges for you to put money aside specifically for your child’s education. Since these funds can only be used for educational purposes, they provide security for financing your child’s academic future.
- Special Needs Trust — a child with special needs requires special steps when it comes to estate planning. A special needs trust can provide financial resources without jeopardizing your child’s eligibility for government benefits like Medicaid.
Healthcare Documents That Protect Your Children When You Can’t
Once you’re a parent, you have to prepare documents to make sure your children’s lives can continue safely if you become incapacitated or pass away, such as:
- Durable Power of Attorney — to appoint someone you trust to make legal and financial decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself. This person will have access to your bank accounts to provide money for your children’s care if you are unavailable.
- Advance Directive / Living Will — to state your wishes about life-prolonging measures you want or don’t want in case you become unable to communicate so that your children know you are being cared for as you wished.
- Letter of Intent — Although not legally binding, this document details how you want your estate managed and how you want your children cared for if you are not around. It explains the reasons for the distribution of your assets and provides specific instructions about how you want your children treated.
Contact Our Accomplished Estate Planning Attorneys Today
Estate planning not only helps you make sure you have the funds to pay for your children’s healthcare and college costs but also offers you the means to ensure that they will be well-tended if you become incapacitated or die when they are still young and vulnerable.
Contact us now so you can have the peace of mind that comes from protecting those you love most.