Use This Time to Revisit The Parts of Your Estate Plan That Impact Your Children Most
With all the considerations about your children’s wellbeing weighing on your mind from day to day, it can be easy to forget about some of the most important factors in keeping them well cared for and secure: naming a guardian in your estate plan.
When was the last time you reflected on your selection of a guardian? If the answer is hard to pinpoint, it’s probably time to revisit this issue. Children change a lot from year to year as they mature from infants into their teenage years. Their care needs and who would make a good guardian can change over time as well. Is the person you previously appointed as their guardian still the best choice? Because your children’s lives are constantly evolving, something that worked even a few years ago may be out-of-date now.
Back-to-school time is a perfect reminder to revisit your estate plan and guardianship designations. Here are the specific areas we’ll want to address:
- Review and refresh of guardianship nominations: Is the guardian you’ve chosen for your children in the event that something happens to you still the person you would want to fill that role? Are they still available to do so, and would your children be satisfied with this choice of guardian?
- Review and refresh intent letters: If you’ve used intent letters in your estate plan to provide additional meaning and context to your guardianship designations and other estate planning documents, it’s a great time to make sure those are reflective of your current goals and wishes as well.
- Review and refresh your estate plan: It’s always a good idea to keep your estate plan as up to date as possible. The addition of a new child to your family by birth or adoption may mean your plan requires substantial changes. This is also the case if one of your children has turned 18. If either of these events occurred since our last assessment of your plan, it is imperative that you don’t wait to make any necessary alterations to your plan.
- Review college savings plans and strategies: Do you have a child who is preparing to attend college in the coming years? We can explore various planning strategies to help financially plan for the cost of tuition and help your family make strategic choices about higher education planning. It’s never too early to begin researching scholarship opportunities if you have a child already in high school. There are also a variety of accounts, such as 529s, UTMA/UGMA, ESAs, and HEETs that can be used to reduce the financial toll of tuition.
- Review the plan for your young adult child. If you have a young adult child, perhaps away at college, that child should execute some basic estate planning documents. You must understand that your child is now legally an adult. Should your child fall ill or have a medical emergency while away at college you may have a difficult time getting information due to the strict medical privacy laws known as HIPAA. Your child should execute a HIPAA release or authorization as well as medical and financial powers of attorney appointing you as your child’s decision maker. We can prepare these for your child and review them with him or her.
Back-to-school time means a flurry of activity for most parents. While shopping for supplies and attending school functions may dominate your to-do list, remember to set up an appointment with us to review your estate plan for any necessary updates that could impact your children’s wellbeing. We’re always here to help. Give us a call today.