Leaving Your Assets to Minor Children

When it comes to your money and planning for the future of your children, it is not unheard of to say that things usually don't go according to plan. If you and your spouse get very ill or die at too young of an age, estate planning is one of the options available to families in order to protect not only your assets, but also the future of your children receiving them. As parents it is safe to say that we obviously want what is best for them; both today and in the future. No matter how hard we try, though; life is fragile and it may come to a close at any moment. It is up to us to plan today for the future of our children, because we may not have tomorrow to protect them.

Perhaps you are a parent and feel that your will is enough to protect your minor children, because either you have a guardian named or you know that your brother and sister in law will take responsibility. While it is true that they will be able to offer them the care that the children need, especially in a time of pain and mourning; the guardians won't have access to using your assets to help raise the children. Many parents assume that as long as the children have legal guardians that the kid's inheritance will automatically be available to the guardian, and this is not true. What important detail is often overlooked is the fact that while the court agrees to the guardian watching over the children as they are minors, the court will remain in control of the kids inheritance until they reach adulthood, either 18 or 21 depending on the agreement. Once they reach their legal age, the court will then give them their full inheritance up front.

If that sounds like too much money to hand over to a new adult, you are probably right. However, when using a will to establish the rules of your children's inheritance, you don't have the option to decide that they will receive their money later on in life, or sporadically in smaller amounts. The court will seek to get it out of the way in one swoop, therefore giving a young adult access to likely more money than they need at this time of their life. Rather than dealing with the complicating process with the court and your children's inheritance, many estate planners would encourage you to go that next step and establish a trust for your children instead.

Establishing a trust that is named in your will, can offer your children's inheritance that extra level of protection and guidance that a will alone cannot. By creating a trust fund, you will then list someone as the manager of the funds rather than leaving the charge to the court. This process also allows you the option to decide when your children should receive their inheritance. Perhaps you want that money to be used for college loans, or when they decide to start their own family, etc. A trust will allow you to list out those requirements for the inheritance.

It is important to realize; however, that a trust fund is only enacted through the will, and a will is only placed in effect when a person dies. If you were to become ill, rather than pass on, this process could be affected and cause you to lose money from the fund over time. Due to the intricate steps required for estate planning, be sure to contact a probate attorney in your area as soon as possible to discuss the specific details of your family and estate. Don't wait before it is too late to plan for the future care of your children; call an estate planning attorney today.