How can I protect my minor children through estate planning in Maryland?

parents with children

Estate planning tends to be an afterthought for most people until they approach the later stages of life when their offspring have grown up, and retirement is near. Nevertheless, while individuals at this age should ensure that their plan is comprehensive, it is beneficial to consider your estate planning much earlier, especially if you have young children. Even if you feel like you’re too young to think about estate planning because you have your entire life ahead of you, it’s imperative to consider the unexpected. Failing to plan for the future can negatively impact your loved ones. As such, you must prepare for their care and provide provisions should something happen to you. If you’re considering estate planning, contact a trusted Montgomery County Estate Planning Attorney who can help you prepare an estate plan that ensures your children will be provided for in the event of your death or incapacitation, regardless of their age. 

How can I use my estate plan to protect my young children in Maryland?

When you have young children, planning for their future in case of your death or inability to care for them is essential. One crucial step in estate planning is choosing a guardian you trust to raise your children. This person will step in to provide care for your children if you cannot. It’s vital to carefully consider who you appoint as a guardian of your children and ask yourself critical questions before doing so. Do their values align with yours? Can they provide a safe and stable home? Will they love your children like their own? Before appointing someone, speak with them to ensure they are willing to accept this responsibility and won’t be blindsided should something happen to you.

In addition to naming a suitable guardian for your children, you should consider how you will leave your hard-earned assets to your children to ensure they’re provided for. If you have minor children, you must appoint a financial guardian. It’s imperative to note that your child’s financial guardian can be the same person as their physical guardian. If your children are under 18, they cannot legally inherit the money or property. A financial guardian can control and manage the children’s inherited assets until they come of age.

Should I leave my assets to my child’s guardian?

Many people make the mistake of leaving their assets to the guardian to use the funds for the children instead of using a trust. However, that is a huge mistake. If you leave the support to the guardian, they are free to do whatever they please with the funds, meaning you risk using them for purposes other than caring for your children. Therefore, you should create a trust and appoint a trustee who will be trusted to manage their assets until they become an adult. If you’re worried that your child might use their inheritance recklessly when they come of age, you can gradually distribute the assets as your child matures and becomes more financially responsible.

As you can see, there are various ways that you can protect your minor children through estate planning. If you’re thinking about establishing an estate plan, it is in your best interest to contact a knowledgeable attorney from the legal team at JD Katz today. Our firm is prepared to help you make the right choices for your future.