Selecting a guarding is no small task.
You love your children.
You want what is best for them.
How do you determine who should take your place if you die?
Should you prioritize fiscal responsibility or loving support?
What if you did not have to choose one at the expense of the other?
According to the NJ 101.5 article “Choosing guardians for your minor children,” you could have both.
You can name one person to be guardian and rear your children to adulthood (i.e., age 18).
In addition to this, you can designate another individual to manage the estate and oversee the use of the inheritance left for your children.
If you have any minor children, assets are usually placed in a trust for their benefit.
A trust protects the assets on behalf of the children.
You can restrict the amount distributed to your children at certain ages.
When all the inheritance distributions have been made to (or for the benefit of) your children upon reaching a certain age you designate, then the trust can be terminated.
The guardian of these finances is called the trustee.
The trustee will make decisions based on your directions in the trust to provide for the needs of your children—whether for their health, education, maintenance or support needs.
By dividing these responsibilities, you can create a checks and balances system to truly providing what is best for your children.
What should you consider when naming separate guardians and trustees?
First, they should each be well-suited to the position you desire them to fill.
Second, you should pick two individuals who are willing and able to work together under the limits set by the trust.
No matter who you choose, it is always wise to discuss your intentions with the selected individuals before making it "legal" in your estate plan.
A letter recording your wishes for each of your children would also be beneficial.
Meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive plan for your minor children.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: NJ101.5 (October 24, 2016) “Choosing guardians for your minor children”