Raleigh Estate Planning Attorney Protecting and Planning for Minor Children
Nothing is more important than our children. Most parents do everything to ensure that their kids are well-fed, healthy, and safe. Children have pressing needs right now, but we also need to protect their futures. A Raleigh estate planning attorney at NC Planning can help.
An attorney can help you name a guardian for your children if they should unexpectedly lose their parents. But is there more to protecting and planning for minor children than naming a guardian in the event of your death? What legal and financial tools are available to help parents?
At NC Planning, an attorney can work closely with parents and/or grandparents on a minor child’s behalf. We personalize each plan specifically to meet each family’s needs, and we help you keep that plan up-to-date as your family changes over time.
What Can Be Involved When You Create An Estate Plan to Protect Your Children?
Of course, one of the leading reasons why parents seek legal assistance is to name someone as a guardian for their minor children if a tragedy should occur.
Is your own family prepared? Who would you designate to care for your children? And are your assets protected? That is, are you certain that your children will benefit from your assets in the future? When you work with the NC Planning team, planning for minor children may involve:
- A healthcare consent document designating someone to make healthcare decisions and communicate with doctors about your children if you are unavailable or unable to do so.
- A last will and testament designating someone to act as a guardian for your minor children should that become necessary.
- Testamentary trusts, grandchildren trusts, and/or education and living expenses support trusts.
These are some of the many elements that may be included in an estate plan for parents of minor children.
What is a Testamentary Trust?
A “testamentary” trust – which can be created as part of a will or a living trust – leaves assets to a minor, but in the care of a trustee, until the minor reaches a designated age, usually 18, 21, or 25.
The designated end-date for a minor’s trust may be any age you like. Age 18 is a minimum, however, because minors cannot legally control their own property.
Testamentary trusts take effect upon the death of the person who created the will or trust. Trusts for minors may be established by parents or relatives to leave assets to a minor, but not until the minor is old enough to be responsible.
When the person who created the will or trust dies, a designated trustee receives the property and cares for it until the minor reaches the specified age. When that time comes, the trustee transfers the assets directly to the beneficiary, including any income the trust has produced.
Parents make a number of mistakes when creating trust funds for their children. A Raleigh estate planning attorney at NC Planning can help parents avoid those mistakes. In fact, if you have the right attorney working for you, many of these problems never arise.
What Mistakes Can Parents Make When Establishing a Trust?
These are the most common mistakes that parents make when they set up a trust for their children:
- Choosing the wrong trustee: Just because your children have a great relationship with an aunt or uncle doesn’t mean that the aunt or uncle will be a good trustee. A better alternative may be to have your bank act as the trustee.
- Setting the wrong goals: When you set up a trust, you decide how its money is spent before the age of maturity. For example, you can specify that expenditures before the age of maturity may be made only for education costs, medical expenses, and weddings.
- Not reviewing the trust: Review the trust annually to ensure that it still expresses your wishes and reflects current circumstances.
Helping You is Our Top Priority
When a minor’s trust is set up improperly, the funds can end up wasted. The attorneys at NC Planning will not let that happen to the trust you establish for your children. Our top priority at NC Planning is understanding your needs and helping you create the plan that meets those needs.
To learn more about protecting and planning for minor children, or to arrange a first consultation, call NC Planning at (919) 568-3681, or use the contact form here on our website. Our offices are located in Raleigh at 4801 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 200.
NC Planning also has offices in Cary at 5640 Dillard Drive, Suite 101. It’s never too soon to start planning for your children and their futures. Let an estate planning attorney at NC Planning help.