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Besides making sure your assets get to the people you choose, planning can help minimize income, gift, and estate taxes, too. Without an estate plan, and specifically a will, the laws in your state will determine what happens to your possessions, and the courts will decide who gets custody of your children. There can be no end to the number of factors a married couple must consider. An estate plan in addition to protecting your assets also keeps you from having to file in probate court, avoids unnecessary taxation, and issues affecting your children must also be taken into account. Specifically, you should know and plan who will take care of your minor children and assume legal guardianship over them should you pass away.

How do Wills and Estate Plans Differ?

A will covers what will happen to your family and property after you die. An estate plan has a will but also includes other documents protecting your family and property while you are alive but incapacitated. An estate plan guides your loved ones in handling your financial affairs and medical care. Each parent should have an estate plan. Having an estate plan in place can protect surviving family members and help eliminate conflict and will allow your loved ones to know your precise wishes for your medical care, assets, and final arrangements.

The Importance of Determining Guardianship in Your Estate Plan

No decision is more important. If both parents were to suddenly be involved in an accident and both pass away before the children are 18, the legal guardian you select can step in to provide care and love for your child. Without a guardianship plan, there would be a risk that the court may place your children with a relative you would not have preferred or even in the foster care system.

Factors to Consider When Naming a Guardian 

  • Parenting Skills
  • Location & Living Situation
  • Religious & Moral Beliefs
  • Stable Job & Financial Situation
  • Age & Stage of Life

When you are planning guardianship for minor children in your estate plan, the most important thing is to consider your children themselves and what’s right for them. When it comes time for guardianship to come into effect, your first choice may be unwilling, ill, deceased, or otherwise unable to care for your children. By choosing backup guardians, you can feel more confident that your children will end up in the care of someone you truly trust. By naming a guardian in your estate plan, you are telling the court that you trust the individual you have named and desire their care and guidance for your children. Unless there are serious problems with the individual you selected, the court is likely to affirm the arrangement. Consult with a legal representative and have that individual prepare the appropriate paperwork for you. Your attorney can help you incorporate guardianship plans into your overall estate plan so that you can feel more confident about your children’s future.

Where Should I Keep My Will and Estate Plan?

After the completion of the documents, you must store your documents with your attorney and tell your family and the children’s guardian where to locate the documents when needed. Your documents should not be something your family, children’s guardian, or executor have to hunt for or work hard to get access to. Storing it with your attorney does not make it inaccessible. You can request it back at any time. If you wish to make changes, you are not required to work with the same attorney or law firm. The will is yours to take at any time.

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About Helmer Somers Law

Helmer Somers Law helps individuals and businesses navigate the complex system of rules that accompany all legal situations. We are licensed to practice in both Kentucky and Ohio and offers flexible, affordable payment terms for our services. We welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and become your lawyer for life! It’s a fact of life in the modern world. There comes a time for virtually every adult American when the services of a competent, dedicated lawyer are required. Circumstances such as divorce, bankruptcy, estate planning or an income tax audit demand that your rights be protected, and your long-term interests advocated for with diligence and perseverance. When you call Helmer & Somers Law, you can rest assured that they will be.

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