Many people neglect planning their estate, creating a will or trust and thinking about the inevitable. Much of this is due to the fact that people are not especially pleased to discuss their own death and the misconception that estate planning is only for the wealthy. However, everyone needs an estate plan especially parents with minor children. Irrespective of how large or small your estate is, if you have a child under the age of 18 you need an estate plan.
At a bare minimum, we at Julia Burt Law, advise new parents to have a Will, a Durable Power of Attorney and an Advance Health Care Directive.
A will is a written document that outlines your wishes regarding how you want your property distributed when you die. Importantly for parents, it can also outline who you wish to nominate as guardian of your minor children. Knowing who will care for and raise your children is a huge comfort to many parents. Nominating a guardian also helps make the transition for everyone, including children and family relatives, must easier.
Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)
A DPOA allows you to nominate an agent to act on your behalf regarding finances. This document is important if you should become incapacitated or unable to make these decisions yourself. For parents this is especially important because if a parent becomes incapacitated the agent will be able to pay for the child’s health, education and other needs.
Advance Health Care Directive
An Advance Health Care Directive, also known as a living will, outlines your desires and wishes regarding health care decisions and end-of-life care. This document can sometimes be the hardest to complete but necessary and important. Ambiguity regarding your heath wishes can cause much confusion and consternation among family members. This is magnified when a parent has minor children. Every parent should think about their inevitable passing and what their wishes are regarding end-of-life care. You should share this document with your spouse and/or family and your health care provider.