As a full-time working mother of two with the third on the way, sometimes it is hard to find the strength to make it through a typical day, none the less to think about important items such as life insurance or writing a will. However, your will is not as simple as who do you leave your belongings to if you pass away while your children are still minors. There are many things that you should consider when planning for the future of your children.
The creation of a will allows you, not the state, to determine how your estate will be distributed and how your children will be protected if you pass way. You must be an adult of sound mind when creating the will. The purpose of the will is to appoint beneficiaries of your “worldly good”, appoint a guardian for your minor children: and to appoint an executor.
The two most important items that have to do with minors are, appointing a property guardian and a personal guardian for your children. The property guardian is responsible for managing your children’s inheritance. The personal guardian is responsible for raising your children if they are minors. Once these guardians are established, you will be able to create a custodian account and establish a trust for your children. A custodian account and trust fund will help insure the financial well being of your children because in most states, a child under the age of 18 years old can not legally own anything except small amounts less than $5,000.
Wills do not cover life insurance or retirement plans. The beneficiaries of these accounts are stated with the plans so it is important to keep them current. The amount of life insurance coverage you have should take into consideration expenses such as child care, if one parent stays at home with the children, cost of college educations for the children, living expenses through the age of 24 years old, and additional funds for the increase in cost of living. The beneficiary of the life insurance policy should be the individual named as the property guardian for children in the event that something would happen to both parents.
Once a will is established it is ongoing for the rest of your life. You should review it:
Every 5 years
When you have your first child or additional children
if you decide to change the provisions of your will
if you move to another state
if your executor, guardian or trustee move to another state
if you get divorced
if you’ve had a significant increase in wealth
if there has been a change in estate tax laws
Even though it is difficult to think about not being there for our children, it is important to ensure the best future for them in the event that you are not there. Take the time to think about writing your will as soon as possible because you have to live each day like there is no tomorrow.
Wurman, Richard Saul. (2002). Understanding Children: The guidebook for children 0 to 3. USA: Quad Graphics.
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