As families prepare to celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day, children and significant others prepare to make this one day extra special for her. Mom’s can also take this day as a reminder of things to arrange for their family’s future.
Rather than thinking about it as estate planning, think about it as succession planning: planning for what happens if something happens to you. Who will care for your children? How will they afford to care for them? Who will make decisions for you if you are unable to do so? Will your spouse get everything you leave behind? Proper estate planning can address each of these concerns and more.
Consider the following reasons every mom needs an estate plan:
1. Selecting a guardian. This is by far the number one reason that every parent should have an estate plan in place. As part of your estate planning process, you will designate a guardian (or guardians) for any minor children that you might leave behind. When selecting a guardian, it is important to select someone who shares your parenting philosophies and will raise your children the way you want them to be raised–particularly with regard to schooling and religion. Proper estate planning can help ensure that your children seamlessly transition to their new home, selected and planned by you.
2. Funding and control. In the event something happens to you and you leave children behind, you’ll need to consider how they will be provided for. Proper estate planning can help ensure that the money you leave behind is managed properly and held in trust for your children’s needs as you might designate.
3. An honest evaluation. Beyond planning what will happen with your current assets, proper estate planning will give you an honest evaluation of the obligations and burdens you might leave behind. If you have minor children, are you weighing down your chosen guardians with a financial burden they cannot carry? Will your family have the funds to pay for your funeral expenses? With proper estate planning, you can avoid the consequences that might otherwise result if you do not have the assets to cover the liabilities you leave behind.
4. Single parent. If you are a single parent, creating an estate plan is especially important to ensure that there is someone available to care for your children and the funds in place for them to do so. If you have not planned for this contingency, any funds you might leave behind might be required to go into a conservatorship with the court and potentially out of reach of your child.
5. Everyone needs a Power of Attorney. Even if you do not have children or assets, you should have a power of attorney to ensure that someone can take care of your finances and make medical decisions for you in the event of your death, disability, or incompetency. You can even create a medical power of attorney for your children that allows caregivers to make medical decisions for the children when you’re unavailable.
6. Proper estate planning has layers of protection. With proper estate planning, you can change beneficiary designations, create trusts, and change how property is titled to make sure that everything passes just as you would like it to without ever probating your will. The will then acts as a safety net to make sure that anything that slips through the cracks is still distributed in accordance with your wishes.
We want to take the time to thank each and every Mom who has given energy, affection, and devotion to mothering well. Your hard work will leave a good legacy! Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms from The Stanfield Firm!
If you would like to learn more about estate planning and planning for your family’s future, please complete the below online form or email [email protected].