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Factors to consider when estate planning for child beneficiaries

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | Estate Planning

Having children or adopting a child can motivate a parent to create an estate plan. After all, a parent has financial and legal responsibility for their children. They may want to ensure the safety and comfort of their child even after their death.

Children are among the most common beneficiaries included in modern estate plans. Parents hoping to provide resources and support for their children if they die may need to carefully consider certain specific factors when developing their estate plans.

The need for a supportive guardian

Financial support is important, but it pales in comparison to the importance of the day-to-day support a parent provides. One of the most important choices when estate planning for child beneficiaries is who to name as the guardian of those children if both parents are unable to care for them in the future. A guardian has responsibility for the children and can provide them with social, emotional and financial support after their parents die.

The protection of their inheritance

A child beneficiary technically cannot immediately control the resources their parents leave for them. Children and teenagers rely on their parents or guardians to manage their resources. The other parent could assume control over the children’s inheritance. A guardian could also have access to and control over those resources. Parents sometimes decide to include trusts in their estate plans to ensure that there are still inherited resources for their children after they become legal adults.

The need for protection in an emergency

An estate plan doesn’t just address what happens if someone dies. It also includes provisions for medical emergencies in many cases. Parents may need to talk about the risk of incapacitation to protect their children from stressful situations. From powers of attorney that grant someone the authority to maintain the family finances to medical documents clarifying a parent’s treatment preferences, documents addressing medical emergencies, not just death, can be very valuable for those thinking about the protection of their children in an unpredictable world.

Discussing family circumstances and personal concerns at length with a skilled legal team can help parents integrate the right protections into an estate plan. Child beneficiaries require careful consideration during the estate planning process.

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