When you are raising young children, your life is busy. And when you are busy, it can be easy to focus only on the present and forget to consider the future. To protect your children, however, it is essential that you take the time to create an estate plan that outlines your wishes.
An estate plan is vital for parents with children at any age. Whether you have young children or older children, an estate plan can help you ensure they are cared for in the event that something happens to you.
What would happen to your children without an estate plan?
Without an estate plan in place, particularly a will, you will not have control over what happens to your children. When you die without a will, it is known as dying "intestate." This means that the probate court will decide what happens to your children and your property, following the intestate laws of Massachusetts.
If you are a single parent - or if something happens to both you and the other parent - your children could be raised by someone you would not choose. Your children will not automatically go to a grandparent or sibling. Instead, the court will make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child, as the court sees it.
Creating a will and other legal protections
By creating a will, you can outline your wishes for the care of your children, including who will take care of them if you pass away. You can also create documents - such as powers of attorney and trusts - that can outline your wishes if you become incapacitated and help you avoid the probate process.
While there are many cheap forms for creating estate plans online, it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced estate planning attorney. Estate laws vary from state to state, and it is important that you work with a lawyer who knows the local laws and how they will apply to your case. An attorney can also provide you with advice about other estate planning options that can help you meet your goals and protect your children's future.