If you have minor children, you will want to create an estate plan that provides for them should you pass away or become disabled before they reach the age of majority.
First, you will want to appoint a guardian of the person and a guardian of the property for your child. A guardian of the person has the legal responsibility to care for your child’s well-being. For example, the guardian makes health care decisions for your child and is responsible for ensuring your child receives an education. The guardian of your child’s property, in contrast, has the power to expend your child’s money for his or her benefit. Typically, a couple will appoint the same individual or couple to be both the guardian of the person and property.
Second, if you have minor children, you will want to establish a trust to manage any assets you leave behind at your death. The trust holds your assets and the trustee must invest them prudently so that the trust principal can be used for your child’s benefit. If you child is a minor, the trustee makes distributions to the child’s guardian of property. Once the child reaches 18, the trustee would make distributions to your child directly. You may want to consider appointing someone other than the guardian of the property as trustee so that several individuals or couples are involved in caring for and supporting your children.
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