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Tailoring an estate plan for the needs of your children

Everyone needs to have an estate plan in place. The good news is that it is easier to do and probably more affordable than you realize. And the best time to get started is right now.

Each child is unique and this is important to consider when designating gifts as part of the estate planning process. You may be the parents of a special needs child and need to consider and plan for increases in medical treatment costs. Or if you've watched a child struggle to manage money over the years, you may need to structure a gift in a way that it cannot be immediately squandered.

Family conversations limit surprises

Around the time that you complete an estate plan, it is also a good idea to sit down and have a talk with your family. This can often be facilitated by the attorney who helps you put together a comprehensive plan.

Talking about incapacity or death are difficult subjects. But often these discussions are a gift to family. They ensure that everyone is on the same page. Even knowing where to locate documents can be helpful during an emotional time.

The documents that make up an estate plan

Considering the skill sets of your children can inform the documents that make up your estate plan. Your will is the foundation and is where you can select an trusted individual to assist with administering your estate and making sure loved ones receive gifts. Here are several others:

  • Durable power of attorney for health care: Appoints someone to make sensitive decisions such as removing a breathing tube. You might select a spouse or a trusted friend to take on this responsibility rather than children.
  • A financial power of attorney: Deals with financial issues. If one child is a CPA they might be a good candidate to take on this responsibility.
  • Trusts: These powerful vehicles allow for you to structure gifts so that they do not affect government benefits that a special needs child receives. They also allow more control to ensure that a child with mental illness or drug addiction issues uses a gift in a proper manner.

When children are young or entering early adulthood, a trust is one way to avoid the need for a guardianship. A trustee can oversee disbursements ensuring they go toward education costs rather than a new car.

Make sure your family is protected; take estate planning off of the back burner.  We will never recommend something you don't need. This reduces your costs. In addition, we work hard to make the process as painless as possible. Call Postic & Bates at 405-814-6524 to get started today.

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