By the time you are a parent of a teen, you have the whole back-to-school routine down. You know where to find the school supplies they need and the snacks to have on hand for when they get home. You know that within the first couple of days of school they will come home with those yearly emergency contact forms for you to complete. But wait, those emergency contact forms come home every year because your emergency contact person may change. Would you still name the same guardian for your child now that they are a teenager as you did when they were an infant? Just like your child’s supply list has changed and their favorite snack may be very different now than when they were in kindergarten, the appropriate person to act as their guardian may have changed as well.
Early on, many couples appoint their parents or siblings as guardians for their young children. However, as your children age so do your parents. They may not be as well-equipped now to raise a teenager or may have an entirely different lifestyle than they did 10 or more years ago. Also, your teen may have strong ties to their school, friends and community that would amplify the trauma they would experience if in addition to losing their parents they were also uprooted and forced to start their life again somewhere new. Maybe you have an older adult child or close personal friends in the area where you are that might make a better choice now to whom you previously named.
Your financial situation may have changed greatly over the years as well. Is your teenager emotionally and fiscally prepared to manage a substantial inheritance? Keeping the funds in a trust allows a responsible person of your choice (who does not need to be the guardian) to manage your assets for your children’s benefit. These assets are used strictly in accordance with the terms you dictate, often for maintenance, health and education. The assets may then be distributed to your children at a time and in a manner, that you feel is appropriate.
Contact us today and set up a free consultation to discuss how we can ensure your estate planning is up to date and your assets are properly protected for your children.