One of the best ways to protect your children is by creating a comprehensive estate plan that outlines their future care and provides for their needs. However, many young or new parents don’t understand how an estate plan can help support their kids for many years into the future — and put their own minds at ease in the present.

In this blog, we’ll outline four ways parents can protect their children with an estate plan, and we’ll also explain the value of hiring an estate planning lawyer to facilitate the process.

Protect Your Children With an Estate Plan

There are many ways to protect your children and their future using an estate plan or will. Here are four examples:

1. Appoint Guardians for Your Children

One of the most important aspects of estate planning for parents is the process of designating a guardian for your children. When parents die without appointed guardians, the State of Michigan will choose guardians for them. The state’s laws take a “best guess” at who you would like to raise your children. Usually, the person chosen is another family member.

Sometimes, the person the state would choose may not be the person you want to raise your child. To designate someone else, you’ll need to name that person as a guardian in a will as part of your estate plan.

2. Designate Beneficiaries for Retirement Accounts

To make sure your children receive the assets included in your retirement accounts, all you need to do is fill out a form provided by your employer. You can change or update the beneficiary later if you like by filling out a new form. The advantage of naming beneficiaries to your retirement accounts? The funds go directly to the people you name and avoid probate.

RELATED: Can I Avoid Probate in Michigan?

3. Protect Your Children’s Financial Future With “Dynasty Trusts”

Another way to protect your children in the future is with a “dynasty” trust. These long-term trusts offer ongoing protection from creditors, even into adulthood, and are a way to pass wealth and assets from generation to generation. If you’re concerned about your child’s ability to manage money or make sound financial decisions, a dynasty trust can help protect them.

4. Ensure Access to Resources With Special Needs Trusts

If your child has a disability that requires long term care, a special needs trust can help provide for them. By placing resources that can support your child in a special needs trust, your child will still be eligible to receive Social Security benefits and Medicaid. However, you must set up the trust carefully; a single mistake could cost your child their benefits.

It’s Never a Bad Idea to Work With an Estate Planning Attorney

If you have questions about which options are right for you or your family, it’s always best to speak with a Michigan estate planning lawyer. An experienced attorney can learn about your family’s unique needs and then address those needs with legally sound, customized documents.

Creating an estate plan can be an emotional process, especially for new parents — no parent likes to imagine their own passing and the effect on their child’s life. But if you push the thought out of your mind and avoid planning for it, your lack of action could end up hurting your child if something happens to you, and that’s something no parent wants either.

It can be tempting to use online will generators to create an estate plan, but the cookie-cutter plans created by these tools are often more trouble than they’re worth. An experienced attorney can help you make smart decisions and protect your children using documents that are tailored to your exact needs and circumstances.

RELATED: Michigan Estate Planning Basics: Everything You Need to Know

The Law Office of Kari Santana: Helping Families in West Michigan With Estate Planning Needs

Whether you’re established and have a large, complex estate or you’re young and just getting started, the experienced estate planning team at Law Offices of Kari Santana can help you get ready for the future with our affordable estate planning services. We understand that your estate planning needs are as unique as you are, and we’ll address them with creative, custom-tailored solutions that can give you confidence and peace of mind.

To get started today with a free initial consultation, call us at (616) 717-5759 or use the contact form below.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.