Probably the most difficult but crucially important area of practice for our firm is our Family Estate Planning. After becoming aware of many heart wrenching stories about families with no estate plans or with poorly thought out estate plans (where young children were left without either parent) we decided to become passionate about estate planning for families. We are particularly looking out for young families, because they are less likely to have considered that something bad could happen during what should be their best years together as a family.
Unfortunately, bad things do happen to young families every single day. The most tragic thing we have seen is where a small child or small children lose both parents in a single accident and there was no forethought, no plan, no insurance to provide for those children until they become adults.
Worse yet, imagine a judge choosing where your children should live or who they should live without any idea of what you would like to have happen should you pass prematurely. Without written instructions from you the courts are severely handicapped when they have to make these crucial decisions. Perhaps the judge sees your sister in law, who appears to have it all together on the outside, as the perfect parent for your children. However, you knew this person was the last person you would ever want to raise your kids because she is a total “whack job”. Is that who you want raising your children in your absence? Probably not!
The point of what we do is to help you put everything in an estate plan to protect you, your spouse and your children from having a third party decide your fate. That may even be to include a few layers of concerned family members if necesssary, ready to take your wishes to the next level in case of an unforeseen tragedy.
Your choice of a guardian/conservator doesn’t necessarily have to be a relative. Maybe your neighbors have children your kids ages and they love your kids like their own. You all agree on the perfect private school where your kids and theirs are enrolled. If you don’t have a trust where you name those neighbors/friends as the people you want to raise your children, it is never going to happen. They are probably in no better position than to take your kids home than the average person who may be interested in adopting your children in case no family member steps up. Remember too, the older your children are the less their chances of being adopted by anyone. Then we are talking about a lifetime of foster care.
These are real life scenerios that no one ever wants to think about or plan for, however, ignoring the problem may end in a bad result should something terrible occur. Too many children end up in foster care because of negligent, drug addicted or criminal parents. Your children should never have to face that fate and they won’t if you have a plan in place to take care of them. Call us now.