If You Have Minor Children, You Need An Estate Plan

Many people wrongly believe that estate planning is only for the elderly. The truth is that if you have children — especially minor children — you need an estate plan.

At Terrazas Clark Henkel, P.C. in Missoula, we help young parents throughout western Montana put estate plans in place to ensure that their minor children are cared for after they are gone.

The Many Benefits Of An Estate Plan

Everyone should have an estate plan. A will, trust, power of attorney and other estate planning documents can allow you to direct how your property is divided after your death and ensure that your final wishes regarding end-of-life health care are known. If you have minor children, however, estate planning is even more important.

Who will care for your children if you and your spouse pass away?

A will allows you to name a guardian for your children. This person steps into the shoes of the parent and is responsible for raising the children and tending to their health, education and general welfare until age 18. While no one will ever take your place, identifying a guardian for minor children may avoid the heartache of a custody dispute after your death. You should consider who you'd like to raise your children in the event of your death and then make sure the proper legal paperwork is in place.

What will happen to your children's inheritances?

Children can't inherit money or property until age 18. Instead, a conservatorship must be established to manage these assets. As a parent, you can select a trusted family member or friend to act as conservator for your children, or you can set up a trust to receive and protect their inheritance, and direct how and when it will be distributed.

Who will manage the assets and money until your children mature?

Very few 18-year-olds are mature enough to manage money and property, especially investments, on their own. As a parent, you can establish a trust and name a trustee to manage your assets on behalf of your children until your child reaches a certain age or accomplishes certain milestones, such as graduating from college.

Make A Plan And Get Peace Of Mind

We understand that people do not like to think about their own mortality or what would happen to their children if they were to pass away. However, putting a plan in place is one of the best things you can do as a parent. Don't wait any longer to get started. Contact our firm. You will feel better knowing your children will be protected and provided for no matter what the future holds. Call us at 406-541-2550 to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers.