When you think of leaving a will, what comes to mind? Typically, we think of a will as leaving our personal belongings and other assets to heirs in the event of our death. That is, for all intents and purposes, what a will is for. However, that isn’t the only document you need to consider having drawn up as part of what is known as estate planning and these other legally binding documents are just as important as a Last Will and Testament. Consider the following reasons why a will isn’t sufficient for parents with minor children.
1. A Will Can Be Held up Indefinitely in the Courts
Even if you have a top-notch attorney, you should know that anyone contesting your will can hold it up in the court system for years if enough money is at stake. In fact, there are numerous reports in the news of just this very thing happening when multi-millionaires and celebs pass away. Have you ever wondered why legal heirs often settle ‘out of court’? Could it be they want use of the money today, not on some distant day in the future?
2. You Will Still Need a Living Will and Durable Powers of Attorney
One expert New York estate planning law group says that in the State of New York, there are actually five different types of documents you should have drawn up to protect you and your loved ones if you are unable to do so. Among these documents are Durable Powers of Attorney and Living Wills. You will need both a financial and a health-related Durable Power of Attorney appointing someone to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so and the other type of estate planning document is called a Living Will.
This outlines how you want to be cared for in the event you are unable to speak for yourself should you become injured or incapacitated due to illness. Your attorney will help you understand which person or entity you might be comfortable giving this type of power to. Who can you trust to carry out your wishes?
3. Parents of Minor Children May Be Better Served with a Revocable Living Trust
If you have assets you fear being held up in courts for any length of time due to relatives who just might contest your Last Will and Testament, New York attorneys suggest that you have a Revocable Living Trust drawn up. This cannot be held up in probate courts for lengthy periods of time and is absolutely necessary if you want to plan a better way to escape heavy state and federal estate taxes upon your death. Again, this is a harder document to contest and so is often found to be better suited to parents of minor children or anyone with substantial assets to leave behind.
There are other reasons why a will isn’t sufficient when you have minor children, but the sad fact remains, if it can be contested in probate court, someone will invariably come out of the woodwork to do just that. Is that the future you want for your children? Do you want them going into foster care while a questionably ‘suitable’ guardian is appointed if you’ve not appointed one? Consider every possibility and then remember Murphy’s Law. Prepare and plan well so that you know your children will be cared for in the manner you would have cared for them if you were still here with them.
Unless you cover all your bases, dot all your proverbial i’s and cross all your proverbial t’s, you can never be sure your kids will get the assets you leave them, or will be cared for as you wish. That’s the bottom line and why a will is never sufficient when you have minor children.