Having a will simply does not protect your kids if the worst-case scenario happens to you. If you are a parent whose children who are counting on you, your estate plan must ensure your children will always be taken care of by the people you want, in the way you want.
While the vast majority of estate planning attorneys do not plan from a parent’s perspective, we at Cross Law consider planning for the well-being and care of children one of our areas of greatest expertise. We offer specific resources with every estate plan we create for families with young children.
What are the risks of not planning ahead?
Should the unthinkable happen to you, and you haven’t planned for the care of your children, the consequences could include:
- Your children could be temporarily placed in the care of Child Protective Services, even if you have a will and/or living trust in place
- A judge who doesn’t know you or your family will decide who gets to raise your kids; the designated guardian might be someone you would never want
- Your family could get involved in a drawn-out custody fight or there could be a challenge to the designated guardians
- Up to 5% of the value of your assets could be lost to court costs and other unnecessary fees through the probate process
- When your kids turn 18, they get a check for whatever assets are left; there are unscrupulous people who search public records to find out when 18-year-olds receive that check
How do I safeguard the care of my children if I am not there?
In addition to instructions and legal documents, we will provide resources that, in an emergency, will ensure the smooth transition of your children into the loving hands of those you specifically want to care for them. Because the first responders will have clear instructions, you will avoid having your children placed in the custody of Child Protective Services or in the care of anyone you wouldn’t want. Your specific plan will ensure your children are nurtured by people you choose, not someone chosen by a judge who doesn’t know you.