Increasingly, estate planning attorneys are advising young professionals about issues that have more to do with taking care of their growing families in the event of tragedy, than the transfer of assets at death. Millennials with families want the kind of peace of mind that only effective estate planning can provide.
One of the first things clients say when they come into the office is, "This issue has been causing us such anxiety for years. We’re glad to finally be doing something."
The something they have come to do always includes creating a will or trust that provides for the transfer of assets. The relief comes from deciding who should be named as the clients’ agents to make medical and financial decisions when they are unable to manage their affairs. More importantly, when they decide who would be the best guardian for their minor children.
Types of Guardianship
Determining who should fill the role of guardian is not an easy choice to make. The decision requires an open discussion about the capabilities and personalities of those who might be considered as guardians. Who does the client trust to raise their children with the values they hold dear, and who will best manage their money for their children?
There are two types of guardianship parents need to consider. The guardian of the person cares for the children physically and the guardian of the estate is the person who manages finances for the children. Most often, the responsibilities are delegated to one person, however, more than one person can be named and the duties divided among them.
In circumstances where more than one guardian might be named, parents should also consider whether the guardians will be able to cooperate with one another in providing for the needs of the children, such as housing and education, as well as providing emotional support and guidance.
Other Decisions Relating to Guardianship
Knowing there is someone who will raise one’s children is the most generous gift a parent can receive. Gratitude can be shown in many ways, but providing specific guidelines that address issues that can arise during the guardianship will be most appreciated. Clients might consider the following:
- Can the guardian use the child’s funds to build extra space onto the house to accommodate the child?
- Should the child’s funds be used to hire extra in-home care?
- Can the child’s funds be used for sports, trips and other activities?
- Should the child go to private or public school, college and graduate school?
- If there is more than one child, should they be treated equally regardless of whether a child attends college?
Our attorneys have experience addressing these concerns and help clients prepare for the future with the peace of mind that comes from knowing they are ready for anything.