As parents, we all want to ensure that our children are taken care of and protected, even in the event of our deaths. However, many parents may not consider the impact that their deaths would have on their minor children when creating their estate plan.
Estate planning is not just about distributing your assets and property, it is also about making sure that your children are provided for and protected in the event of your death. This includes not only financial considerations, but also emotional and practical ones.
“Parental death is one of the most traumatic events that can occur in childhood….and reviews of the literature indicate that parental death places children at risk for many negative outcomes, including mental health problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, post-traumatic stress symptoms), traumatic grief (e.g., a yearning for the deceased and lack of acceptance of the death), lower academic success and self-esteem, and greater external locus of control.” Rachel A. Haine, Tim S. Ayers, Irwin N. Sandler and Sharlene A. Wolchik, Evidence-Based Practices for Parentally Bereaved Children and Their Families, 39 Prof Psychol Res Pr. 133-121 (2008).
One of the most important things to consider when planning for the care of your minor children is who will be their legal guardian. This is the person who will take on the responsibility of raising your children and making important decisions on their behalf. It is important to choose someone who you trust and who shares your values and beliefs about parenting.
However, as you consider who should have this important role, consider, among other things, who would be best to guide your children as they deal with the emotional and psychological impact of your death. Can your chosen guardian handle the behavioral changes that your children may experience? Would your chosen guardian know when and how to seek professional help for your children?
Another important aspect to consider is the financial support of your children. This includes providing for their basic needs such as food, clothing, and housing, as well as their education and other expenses. And most parents would benefit by creating a trust such that assets can be managed and distributed according to their wishes.
As a parent planning for your children’s financial needs, don’t forget about what other needs your children may have that may be different than had you remained alive, such as counseling or therapy, frequent visits to extended family, and so on. Parents should strongly consider purchasing life insurance to ensure that their children are cared for properly.
Overall, estate planning is not just about your assets, it is also about ensuring that your children are taken care of and protected in the event of your death. As a parent, it is important to consider the impact that your death would have on your children and to take the necessary steps to plan for that impact. By working with a qualified estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your children’s future is secure and that they will be provided for in the event of your death.
Mathews Law offers free consultations. Please set up an appointment by call 866.980.0838 or clicking here to book a time yourself.