Estate planning is different for every age group and for every person; however, there are certain categories of persons that could especially benefit from estate planning. People with young children often do not think about estate planning as they are busy raising children, starting professions, and beginning “adult lives;” however having children should be a reason to have a basic estate plan if you do not have any major assets.

Without an estate plan, the State of California would decide who has guardianship rights over your children. Further, if you do have any property, your children may not be able to use your property for their benefit quickly. A will, a revocable living trust, a durable power of attorney, and an Advanced Healthcare Directive should be part of your estate plan in order for your children to have the best support and least uncertainty if you die while they are still minors.

The following provides a short list of some estate planning tips if you currently have children who are under 18 years old.

  • Consider naming a guardian for your children and a separate guardian to manage any property for your children. You do not need to choose one guardian to be in charge of your children and to be in charge of your children’s property. There are many reasons you may want two.
  • Name a dependable executor and/or trustee. An executor (for a will) and a trustee (for a trust) will be in charge of your assets after you die, so you would want to ensure they are dependable and knowledgeable. It does not need to be a family member, so you can choose whoever you want. You should also have a back up in the case the executor or trustee is unable to serve.
  • Designate beneficiaries to your retirement accounts. Retirement accounts (401(k)s, Roth IRAs, or IRAS) can be passed on to heirs by filling out a Beneficiary Designation Form provided by your employer or whoever is holding your retirement account (i.e., brokerage). You can change the beneficiaries at any time.
  • Consider insurance. Life insurance and/or disability insurance are methods to provide for children or your spouse in the case you are unable to care for them financially. Although less a legal issue and more a financial issue, it is important to consider when making an estate plan.
  • Have a will and/or revocable living trust. The most important tip for an estate plan is to have one. You would not want your family struggling after your death or need to fight for assets that you wanted to leave to them. Even if you do not have any assets, a will is important to name a guardian for your children.

Please contact Attorney Anthony Marinaccio if you would like to discuss your estate planning options at (818) 839-5220.