Every adult in the United States should have an estate plan in place. For the parents of minor children, however, estate planning takes on a heightened importance. Knowing that your children will be financially secure, and that someone you trust will be looking out for their best interests, provides an invaluable piece of mind for a parent. A well thought out estate plan will typically incorporate a wide variety of tools and strategies into the plan in order to achieve all the inter-related estate planning goals. If you are the parent of a minor child, the Hauppauge living trust lawyers at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia urge you to consider establishing a trust as part of your overall estate plan.
Estate Planning Concerns for Parent of Minor Children
Estate planning is a highly personal endeavor that focuses on your own unique needs and wishes. As such, no two estate plans are exactly the same. There are, of course, some basic estate planning goals that tend to be found in most estate plans. For example, most estate plans create the framework by which the creator’s estate assets are distributed after his/her death. A Last Will and Testament also serves as the foundation for most estate plans. The estate planning needs and wishes of the parent of a minor child, however, will understandably be different than those of someone in his/her retirement years.
As the parent of a minor child, one of your primary concerns will be providing for your children financially in the event that something happens to you, including your death or incapacity. One important way in which the estate plan of a parent with minor children differs from the estate plan of someone without minor children is that the parent with minor children must consider the fact that a minor child cannot inherit directly from the parent’s estate. This means that as the parent of a minor child, you must entrust your child’s inheritance to someone else or make other plans within your estate plan.
If you were to become incapacitated, your children would also need access to assets for their support. If you are the children’s sole provider, you will need to make plans within your estate plan for your children’s support and maintenance during your period of incapacity.
How Can a Living Trust Help?
A living trust is an invaluable estate planning tool for the parent of minor children. A properly drafted living trust can protect and provide for your minor children in the event of both your death or your incapacity. If you are unfamiliar with the concept behind a trust, a trust is created by a Settlor (you), who transfers title to some or all of his or her property to a Trustee (chosen and appointed by you), who then holds title to that property in trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries (in this case your children). As an incapacity planning tool, you can appoint yourself as the Trustee of the trust and appoint the person you wish to take over control of your assets in the event of your incapacity as the successor Trustee. Should you become incapacitated, the successor Trustee takes over as the primary Trustee automatically, providing him/her with control over the trust assets to be used to provide for your children. You can also use a trust to distribute your estate assets to your minor children after your death. Because your minor children cannot inherit until after they reach the age of majority, the inheritance you leave for them will remain in the trust until they are old enough to inherit directly. In the meantime, the trust assets will continue to grow and provide financially for your children pursuant to the terms you establish as the Settlor. You also have the ability, through the use of the trust terms, to stagger the disbursements to your children so they do not receive a large lump sum of money before they are mature enough to handle it.
Contact Hauppauge Living Trust Lawyers
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns relating to establishing a living trust for your children, contact the experienced Hauppauge living trust lawyers at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.