Life is unpredictable, and you may not always be around to secure your children’s safety and guide them toward successful futures. With that said, having the right things in place to ensure their safety after your death can seem like an impossibility.
For the family-oriented community of Orange County, California, retaining legal counsel as you begin your estate planning journey is essential, and at OC Wills & Trusts Attorneys, our dedicated team of lawyers can help you safeguard your children from the unexpected.
Creating a Comprehensive Estate Plan for Children
If you haven’t been to law school, you might assume that wills and trusts are only truly helpful for those with significant assets or large bank accounts, but the truth is that everyone can benefit from estate planning, even (and especially) young parents and their families.
Thankfully, OC Wills & Trust Attorneys can help anyone create an estate planning strategy that touches upon various aspects of their children’s lives after passing away, including the following:
Who will care for your children?
Many young parents believe that they don’t need an estate plan in place while their children are growing up, but if the unimaginable occurs, it’s of vital importance to make sure someone you trust is there to take care of your children.
Typically, without an estate plan in place, courts will appoint a close family member to take care of your children, but if one is not available, an adult of the court’s choosing will be designated the role of your children’s guardian. Furthermore, in extreme cases, the court may take your children into protective custody and place them in foster homes until they are able to find a permanent solution.
You can prepare your children for the unexpected by beginning the estate planning process at OC Wills & Trust Attorneys. We can help you select an individual (or a pair of individuals) who is financially stable, shares your values, and can commit to raising your children as closely as possible to the way you would do so yourself.
How will your children be supported financially?
Without a will or trust in place at the time of your passing, California law dictates that your assets will be divided equally between your surviving children and your spouse, if applicable. Provided your surviving children are minors, the assets that they inherit from you will be held in a trust for them by a court-appointed adult until they reach the age of majority (18).
It’s possible, however, that you won’t want your assets divided or used in that manner. Perhaps you want to guarantee that your children go to college or have the financial means to establish themselves as adults.
Thankfully, through a trust, you have the power to dictate which assets will be available to your children and when. You can also direct how those assets will be used and appoint a trustee of your choice who will oversee how your assets are invested and distributed. Perhaps most notably, though, you can set up your trust to continue beyond the lives of your children and provide for future generations.
Will family traditions endure?
Especially in a community like Orange County, which is full of close families, traditions can date back years or even generations. Maybe an engagement or wedding ring from a great-great-grandmother has made its way from daughter to daughter. Maybe the family business has always been granted to the oldest child while the family home is left to the youngest. Whatever traditions you and your family hold dear, it’s certain that you don’t want them to cease upon your passing.
Without a will or trust in place, you may attempt to give gifts or assets to your children during your lifetime to guarantee that they receive what you want them to have. If your children are minors, however, there are certain items that you cannot bequeath to them until they reach the age of majority, including real estate properties. Therefore, it’s essential that you have a well-drafted estate plan that dictates who receives what property and under which conditions they are to receive it.
At OC Wills & Trust Attorneys, we can help you create a comprehensive, expansive estate plan that allows for personal directives such as those that dictate certain family traditions.
Contact OC Wills & Trust Attorneys Today
Planning for your children’s future with the assumption that you may not be there can be off-putting and even daunting, especially if you’re a young parent. Creating a thorough, up-to-date estate plan, though, can give you peace of mind and allow you to move forward with confidence.
No one can control the future, but you can have a say in who raises your children and how your assets are used for their benefit. Reach out to OC Wills & Trust Attorneys for help with creating an estate plan that reflects your desires for your children and their futures.