Personal Guardian for Minor Children One very important decision for you to make when creating a plan is to decide who would be the guardian of your minor children. When you write your first will, it is very possible that you still have minor children at home. While you may not have 11 children and face the challenge that confronted Shelly and Pat, this is still a very crucial and important decision. Your guardian will raise the children, teach them values, select the schools they attend and perform the functions of a parent. If you do not have a guardian selected in a will, a court may select a person. That person may not share your cultural background, your religion, your general world view, or any other aspects of the character that you think important for the person who raises your children. By selecting a guardian and an alternate in your will, you have a much better prospect of finding someone that you think is the right person to raise your children. Continue reading
While day-to-day obligations can certainly get in the way, at some point as a parent of a child with special needs you will need to create a special needs trust to shelter and manage whatever you may leave the child. This is the only safe way to make sure that the funds you leave are protected and well managed and that the child, who by then is probably an adult, can continue to qualify for vital public benefits.
Here are some of the questions you will need to consider in guiding your attorney to create the trust: Continue reading
When children are in their 30s and 40s, they frequently are starting a new career or beginning a family. Many are still paying off school debts. For these reasons they could benefit from some additional help. Continue reading
Trusts can be quite useful for protecting children. However, for some children, the trust serves an additional function: It protects the principal from being rapidly spent by a child. These trusts have a specific name—they are called “spendthrift” trusts. Marla was visiting with her attorney Elizabeth shortly after her husband Harry passed away. She shared her concern for her youngest child, Joe. Marla: “Harry and I were very fortunate to have four great children. I love each one of them very much. However, when it comes time to making decisions about inheritance, I have a big problem. Our older children Sam and Linda are quite good with financial matters. The third child Lynn is average, but our youngest son Joe is very carefree. If Joe has money, it is gone in a flash. What can I do?” Elizabeth: “This is a fairly common situation. Many parents would like to treat their children equally, but some children are very good managers and one or two are not. In your case, we hope that Joe eventually learns to become more responsible. But for the present plan, it makes good sense to provide Joe with spendthrift trust provisions.” Continue reading