CHILD PROTECTION PLANNING
For parents (or grandparents) of young children, your estate planning needs to include provisions to ensure your children will be taken care of if you cannot.
In the event of parents’ severe illness, injury, or death, estate planning tools should be in place to make sure your children are raised by the persons of your choosing, and that your child’s financial, emotional
and spiritual needs will be met.
Without proper child protection planning, including properly naming a guardian, your children may face a number of serious and traumatic issues including:
• being placed in child protective services;
• having a judge( who does not know you or your family) appoint a guardian who you may not
want to raise your children;
• having your estate value eroded by enormous and unnecessary probate costs; and
• having your entire remaining estate given to your children outright the day they turn 18 without
any instruction or advice.
Our law office specializes in protecting families with young children. Unlike some estate planning attorneys who fail to address many of these important child protection issues, you can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing we have addressed these vital issues — maximizing protection for your children.
Some of the common tools used in the child protection planning include:
• Short-term and long-term guardianship appointments;
• Simple Will/Revocable Living Trusts;
• Education Trusts;
• Life Insurance Trusts; and
• Special Needs Trusts.
Even those who have named a guardian for their children may have made some of these following mistakes:
• Failing to name enough alternate guardians(especially if those named are older, or may move
out of the area);
• For those who name a couple as their guardian, failing to specify what is to happen if they
divorce or one spouse dies;
• Neglecting to sufficiently consider the financial responsibilities/financial resources regarding
your potential guardians. It is advisable to ensure you can leave some financial resources — '
whether it is assets or through a life insurance policy — to cover the costs for the guardians of
raising your children. The guardians – who are responsible for raising your children can also
manage assets left for the children’s care, or you can name a financial trustee to manage the
• Failing to create a trust, and have someone there to manage the money you have left your
children, including when they turn 18, so that they do not get a lump sum payout at an age in
which most are not capable of responsible money management; or
• Failing to expressly exclude those people, especially relatives, who you would strongly oppose
having a role in raising your kids.