Are your children protected if something happens to you? This is a difficult but necessary question every parent should ask. Estate planning is one of the best ways to protect your loved ones now and in the future. This is especially true for protecting your children in the event something happens to you.

What to include in your estate plan

Your estate plan can include a variety of documents to protect your family in the event you become incapacitated or pass away. Some of the documents to consider including in your estate plan are a will and a health care proxy. Your will specifies how your children will be cared for if anything happens to you. It will also specify how your assets should be distributed and can help your family honor your wishes after you are gone. A health care proxy allows you to designate someone to act on your behalf in the event you cannot make decisions due to an illness or health condition.

A will is a vital part of your estate plan. Your will can address several issues to make sure your children are protected. Some of the issues to consider and include in your will are:

  • Your child’s guardian: This will be the person who will be responsible for raising your children in the event you are incapacitated or pass away. You will also want to consider if this same person should manage your child’s finances or not.
  • How assets will be divided: Take the time to review your shared and individual assets and determine how they will be divided among your children and other family members.
  • Specific wishes: You can include specific instructions for your beneficiaries or executors to make sure your wishes are known and honored.

In addition to a will, you may want to consider having a trust set up to protect your children. A trust provides many additional benefits compared to a will when it comes to asset protection. Trusts can be more complicated so it is important to work with your estate planning attorney to make sure all issues are considered and addressed appropriately.

Do not forget to review your estate planning documents. The beginning of the new year is a good time to review your estate plan and make any necessary updates as your family changes. This will ensure your loved ones are protected and that your wishes are enforceable. Your estate planning attorney can help you review and make updates as necessary.