If you are a parent of minor children (or those with special needs) who are counting on you, your estate plan must begin with ensuring your children would always be taken care of by the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what happens.
Fortunately, one of my areas of greatest expertise is in planning for the well-being and care of the children you love. Without advance legal planning for the care of your children, they could wind up being in the care of people you don’t approve of, strangers, or worse of all: wards of the state.
Your children could be put into the custody of a family member who has good intentions, but you’d never want to raise your kids. Or Child Protective Services. A judge who doesn’t know you, or your family, will decide who will raise your kids, even if it’s the last person you would ever want. When your kids turn 18, they get a check for the assets that are left. There are people who look at the public records to find out when these kids are getting that check and victimize unsuspecting families.
The value of your assets could be lost to court costs and other unnecessary fees through the probate process, a court process that can tie up your assets for years. Your family could get into a long, drawn-out custody fight or there could be a challenge to the guardians you have designated. The vast majority of estate planning attorneys do not address these issues and do not plan from a parent's perspective.