Families with young children can greatly benefit from creating a kids protection plan. Creating a kids protection plan is a foundational part of any comprehensive estate plan. Without engaging in the proper planning, your children might not be adequately protected. Taking the time to create a kids protection plan will help ensure that your children will always be taken care of, no matter what the future holds.
If you are a parent of minor children who count on you, creating a kids protection plan will protect your children’s future. What would happen to your kids if you passed away? If you do not have a kids protection plan, there is no time like the present to make sure your children are protected. The estate planning lawyers at Surprenant & Beneski, PC are ready to help you create a kids protection plan for your children. Contact our Southeastern Massachusetts law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
What Happens to Children When Parents Do Not Appoint a Guardian?
Without the necessary estate planning documents, your children could be placed into the care of the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Even if you have created a legally valid will, or you have a living trust, your children could still be placed temporarily in Massachusetts social services. Or, your kids could fall into the care of a person who you would never want to raise your children.
When parents haven’t named a guardian, Massachusetts judges will decide who will raise your children. Judges do not know you and they do not know your preferences unless you carefully write them down and appoint a guardian in your will. When parents pass away without appointing a guardian, they are leaving the welfare of their children in the hands of a judge who could make a terrible choice when selecting a guardian.
Appointing a Guardian in Your Kids Protection Plan
Legally appointing a guardian is one of the most important parts of the kids protection plan. Parents should choose a primary guardian as well as a backup guardian in case their first choice is unable or unwilling to serve in the role of guardian. Your appointee should understand what they will need to do as a guardian and be willing to raise your children if you pass away.
Parents can avoid conflict overall by appointing a guardian and setting aside money for your guardian to use to care for their children. What happens when two sets of grandparents are pushing to become the guardians? By selecting one set of grandparents in a clear and unambiguous way, parents ensure that their wishes will happen. Or, if parents would like a friend to act as their guardian instead of family members, they can state that in the guardianship documents.
Your Children Could Lose Assets Due to Probate
During the probate process, a Massachusetts judge will supervise the disbursement of assets. A judge will authenticate your last will and testament and distribute your assets to the people you’ve named as beneficiaries in your will. If you do not have a will, the court will disperse your assets to your heirs according to Massachusetts laws. The probate process often takes between six months and a year. Your children could become stuck waiting to receive assets from your estate for a significant amount of time during the probate process.
When parents do not have kids protection plans, their estate will go through the Massachusetts probate process. The more money your children can keep, the more assets they will have to live comfortably and pursue their education and goals after you’re gone. As the creator or grantor of the trust, you can design a set of conditions that will work for your family and your goals.
The probate process is not only lengthy, but it also costs money. In many cases, estates lose 5 percent or more of the total value of the assets of the estate due to the probate process. By subjecting your estate to the probate process, you could deprive your kids of essential resources that they need to live comfortably. Many of our clients who have minor children opt to create a trust-based estate plan to avoid probate altogether.
Creating a Trust for Minor Children in Massachusetts in a Kids Protection Plan
The main benefit of creating a trust is to avoid probate. Avoiding probate can help your minor children access the funds in your estate quickly. The ability to access funds as soon as possible will help them live comfortably while they transition to their new normal. Creating a living trust as part of your kids protection plan can be extremely helpful.
When you create a trust and transfer your assets into the trust, your estate will avoid probate and you will be able to control your wealth for the benefit of protecting your children’s future. Transferring your assets into a trust can also help protect your assets from your creditors. Our experienced estate planning lawyers can help you create a trust that meets your goals and protects your children. We can help you name a trustee who will manage the trust for the benefit of your children.
Parents have wide leverage when it comes to creating the terms of the trust. Many parents choose to allow the guardian of their children to withdraw a certain amount of money each month. Parents can choose to arrange for the remaining assets to be transferred to their children on their 18th or 21st birthday, or after the children meet a milestone, such as graduating from college.
Contact Us Today to Set Up Your Kids Protection Plan
If you have questions about creating a kids protection plan, we can help. At Surprenant & Beneski, PC, we understand that there are many issues to consider when it comes to creating a plan for your children’s future. Our law firm works as a team to create kids protection plans that meet our clients’ goals and needs. We take the time to listen to our clients so we can provide them with a unique and comprehensive plan. Contact our Southeastern Massachusetts estate planning law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.