Estate planning is one of the most commonly avoided tasks by Americans, which is both understandable and a mistake. While no one likes to think about death or the idea of a future that doesn’t include you, failing to take control and have an estate plan drawn up can do far more harm than one may realize.
The topic of death and dying makes many people uncomfortable, which in turn means they neglect to meet with a lawyer and make arrangements for what you would like to happen after you are gone. Estate planning not only allows you to help your family through difficult times, but it also means you can designate certain representatives to make decisions about your care, finances, funeral arrangements, and more.
This is particularly important for people with families, whether large or small. It should also be noted that estate planning isn’t only for people with a lot of assets or money in the bank, it is important for everyone.
With families, it is the parents’ responsibility to create an estate plan to ensure you have provided basic protections for your child or children in the event something should happen to you. Perhaps most importantly, a well-thought out estate plan will give you the opportunity to designate a guardian to care for your kids if you pass away before they turn 18.
Here are a few smart estate planning tips for families in Oklahoma:
- Appoint a Guardian. This is something that requires a great deal of thought and consideration, as it is the person (or persons) who will have custody of your child and raise them for you should you die. Do your best to pick someone who is not only willing to take responsibility, but who will be able to provide quality care and a loving home for your child.
- Think Finances. If available to you, it may be a good idea to set up a children’s trust in order to prevent your child’s inheritance from being places in a locked account controlled solely by the court. With a trust, you will be able to appoint a trustee who is responsible for managing the funds you have designated in order to raise your child. You will also be able to list an age that you would like your adult child to inherit the assets of the trust.
- Pinpoint a Power of Attorney. This is important in regards to all medical and financial decisions, should you become disabled or incompetent. Selecting a reliable power of attorney means that person will have the power to make decisions on your behalf and to manage your financial affairs.
- Review Your Estate Plan Annually. Lastly, it is imperative that you don’t just have an estate plan drawn up to never look at again. We recommend revisiting the plan on an annual basis to make sure you are comfortable with all the decisions you have made regarding guardians, power of attorney, and so on. Furthermore, in the event you welcome a new family member, you may need to make an amendment to your estate to include this person.
Estate planning is important for everyone, especially those with families. In order to ensure your assets and loved ones are cared for in the event of your death, please contact an estate planning attorney.