The last thing couples with small children want to think about is what will happen when they die. Young families are often extremely busy and also feel somewhat invincible when it comes to their inevitable death. But, we all know of a family that has been struck by tragedy at a young age. An estate plan can include many items including guardianships, trusts and health care directives.
Although estate planning may be the last thing on a young family's mind it is extremely important. One incredibly important part of an estate plan is establishing guardianships. Parents need to protect their children in the event of their death or disability by appointing a trustworthy guardian. If a guardian is not appointed the children could be placed with someone the parent's wouldn't approve of or in the custody of child protection or another court appointed guardian.
Assets should also be listed and include whose name they are under and who are the beneficiaries. A trust can also be a good way to transfer assets to heirs without going through probate. They can also protect assets from creditors. Also, drafting a health care directive is important in making sure one's wishes are known before they become incapacitated. A health care directive can include what medical treatments a person wants to have done, where a person would like to receive care, organ donation instructions and other very important medical issues. These can help families who are going through a crisis a great deal.
Although the chances of a young family encountering a tragedy is slim they still happen. It is important for families to take the time to create an estate plan so that if a tragic event occurs they will be prepared.
Source: The Denver Post, "Estate planning: Why young families need to do it," Amber Johnson, Oct. 15, 2013