When a loved one passes away, it can be difficult for the family to cope with the sudden loss. This is especially true for children. Whether young or old, children are often inconsolable when they lose a parent.
There are a number of ways that you can work with an estate planning attorney to lessen the burden of your passing on your children.
1. Make Arrangements for Your Children to Receive Money or Assets That You Own in Your Name, Such as a 401k or IRA
When you die, your children have to go through probate to inherit money or assets that you own in your name. This can create a lot of stress for them. As such, it is up to you to make arrangements for them to receive these assets in a way that is free of burden.
In the case of a retirement account like a 401k, naming a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) is quite helpful. That way, the funds in the account can be simply transferred to the chosen beneficiary (or beneficiaries) after your passing. This way, they will not have to worry about making any expensive decisions or dealing with complicated legal paperwork.
In the case of other types of other personal assets, speaking to an estate planning attorney will prove helpful. You can work with an attorney to arrange for the assets to be transferred as soon as possible after you die, so there is minimal disruption to your children’s lives. An example of a way to do this is through a revocable living trust.
2. Consider Appointing Someone to Act as a Go-Between for Your Children and the Funeral Home or Cremation Service
When you are ready to pass away, it can be difficult for your children to deal with the news. They may feel overwhelmed and are often unprepared when it comes to planning for a burial or a cremation. Unsurprisingly, almost everyone is totally unprepared for this. To help them, a go-between could be appointed who can help them feel less burdened and allow them to focus on their grief.
There are several things to consider when selecting a go-between, including the person’s availability, familiarity with funeral procedures, and skills in communication and mediation. With careful consideration, appointing a go-between may provide your children with some comfort during this difficult time. The go-between can help reduce the stress on your children and make the process more manageable for them.
Even more, you may also create something called an advance directive. This document allows you to appoint someone who will make medical decisions for you should you become unable to make decisions on your own due to an illness or disability. Most children are appreciative of this directive as it gives them some peace of mind and can make them proudly say, “That is what my parent wanted.”
3. Make Sure Your Will is Updated Regularly
When you think about it, death is something that we all have to face at some point. And while this is a given, most people do not know when they are going to die. That is why it is important to make sure your will is updated often. That way, you can help reduce the burden on your children when you pass away; you help ensure that your assets go to the people you want them to go to; it can give peace of mind during a difficult time; it can help ensure that any legal disputes surrounding your estate are resolved in a fair manner.
Will-making is a personal process that should be done with thought and care. Alongside your attorney, you need to consider the following:
- Changing needs of your survivors. Include provisions for spouses, children, parents, siblings, and other relatives who may be affected by your death.
- Update any beneficiary information that has changed since you made your initial will. This includes divorces, births, deaths, adoptions, or other major life changes.
- Have your attorney check the most current legal requirements to make sure your will still complies with the law. Sometimes, a change in law may require specific types of wills to include specific language, a notary, a witness, etc.
If you have not already done so, now is the time to get your will updated.
4. Create a Trust for Your Children That Will Provide for Their Needs After You Die
When you think about creating a trust for your children, what comes to mind? Probably things like saving for their college education, setting up a trust fund to cover their future needs, and providing them with income when you die. Well, all of these are benefits of creating a trust. Essentially, a trust can provide your children with security and financial stability after you die.
Here are some reasons why creating a trust for your children is an important decision:
- You will be sure their money is well-managed. A trust could be set up such that someone (a professional or someone you trust) is responsible for the money, which will ensure it is put used wisely.
- They will have access to the money when they need it. Certain trusts typically provide descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.) with access to the funds at certain predetermined intervals, such as upon reaching a certain age or upon reaching a certain milestone that has been predetermined by you.
- A trust will provide your children with important financial resources, which can help them cover basic needs while avoiding probate and reducing estate taxes.
- A trust can also give your children the freedom to manage these assets as they see fit, without having to worry about potential creditors or lawyers seizing control of their money.
Essentially, a trust can provide peace of mind for parents who know that their children will be taken care of financially after they die. If you have it set up already, it also helps your kids get a huge burden off their shoulders.
Kazi Law Firm
By taking these simple steps, you can help reduce the stress and hardship your children may experience during a very difficult time.
If you need help with creating or updating your estate plan, contact Kazi Law Firm. We have several offices in Texas and would be happy to help you in this regard.