Monday, July 28, 2014
It is important to have a plan in place for your children in the event of your death. Who will be your child’s guardian and who will be the guardian of your estate? While these difficult decisions may not have one right answer, there are several important considerations to take into account when you are making your will and planning your child’s future.
Although you are allowed to designate someone as the guardian of your child, in most states the court has the final decision as to who will be the most appropriate caregiver. “It’s at the discretion of the court as to what’s in the best interest of the child.” When drafting your will, it is important to take into consideration that your money and your child can go in opposite directions. Two types of guardians can be specified in your will—the guardian of the child, and the guardian of the property of the estate. Though they can be the same person, that is not a requirement. “Naturally, the answer is different for everyone and depends on what you want for your child as well as his or her caregiver . . . The person who looks after and cares for your child may not be the same person you’d want handling his or her financial life, as they may require a different skill set. To control risk, some people decide to keep the roles separate.”
The best way to do this is by creating a trust. In establishing a trust, you can be explicit about how those funds are to be used for the care and education of the child. When thinking about the appropriate dollar amount to leave for your child’s care, remember that children are expensive.
See Kathryn Tuggle, How to Give Away Your Kids, The Street, July 28, 2014.