|[Pictured is my youngest daughter at 8 months old. Copyright 2019.]|
Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! Adding children to your life is an exciting time. It is also a time filled with so many important priorities for your children such as scheduling doctor appointments, caring for the child’s well-being, and guaranteeing your child will be taken care of if something were to happen to you.
Proper estate planning is invaluable in making sure that your family is ready in case something were to happen. Let’s review examples of the different types of estate planning documents together. First up, Wills.
A Will provides instructions for the distribution of an individual's assets after death. Wills need to be written correctly under the law and reviewed periodically for any changes in the law and changes to your life like adding to your family. These documents should be prepared by a professional with knowledge of changes and updates in law and then properly executed under your state’s requirements.
Within your Will is where you will designate a Guardian for your children should you become unable to provide care. If Guardianship designations are not formally put into writing, then you have left it up to a judge to make decisions for you. This will often involve costly court hearings.
Next, we’re talking Advanced Healthcare Directives. This covers a “Living Will” and “Healthcare Proxy” (or Medical Power of Attorney). Your Living Will is written to instruct others of your wishes in receiving certain medical treatments such as life support, feeding tubes and organ donation. Your designated Healthcare Proxy is able to make medical decisions only if you are unable to do so. These properly prepared documents can spare your (adult) children and other family members from having to make difficult end-of-life decisions for you.
Trusts can also be invaluable estate planning tools that ensure your family property is kept safe, protected from large estate taxes, and will provide for your children into adulthood. Within a Trust, you appoint a money-savvy trustee to divvy out funds and protect your money from potential abuse or from being squandered.
In the end, we all want what is best for our children. So give your family the peace of mind knowing that you have done everything possible to ensure that your child will be taken care of.
Contact me, and let’s make sure that your family’s estate plan is in place. Please forward to family and friends that need to know this information for their loved ones. 205-789-9894
Attorney Richard Burton is a Shareholder with Dominick Feld Hyde, P.C. and serves clients in Probate, Estate and Tax matters. www.dfhlaw.com