Berman & Asbel, LLP

4 Estate Planning Documents To Protect Your Children/Grandchildren

Whether your assets are modest or substantial, providing guidance and legal certainty for your children and grandchildren if something happens to you is highly recommended.

People tend to avoid this subject because it can be unpleasant or uncomfortable. However, you can do yourself and your children a great service by making the decision to complete at least some basic estate planning now. In this way, you, and not the court, can make the decisions such as: "who will see that my wishes are carried out?", "who will be the guardians of my children or the assets I leave to them?", "how will my assets be divided between my children or grandchildren?"

There are four estate-planning documents every parent should have:

  1. A will: A will provides guidance on your wishes and helps your children and other loved ones avoid painful and expensive legal proceedings that become necessary if a person passes away intestate (without a will).
  2. Advance care directive: Completing this form can save your children from having to make decisions about your health care without direction from you. With an advance care directive, you can state your wishes on what you want and do not want, and you can select a medical decision maker to speak on your behalf if necessary.
  3. Guardian designation: If you and your spouse (or the other parent of your child) passes away, your child will need a guardian. Appointing one yourself can circumvent a difficult legal process and ensure the guardian is the person you want to care for your child.
  4. Powers of attorney: Appointing someone to have financial and/or medical power of attorney gives that person permission to make necessary decisions if you cannot make them yourself. Knowing someone you trust will be in this position can give you and your family peace of mind.

Every parent should have these basic planning documents in place. If you are a parent and want to protect your children, your assets and your wishes, consult an attorney about these tools.

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