If you have minor children and want to make sure that your kids are taken care of in the wake of an untimely death, then it is very important that you draft a will. A will that is filed with your family lawyer will help to make sure that your wishes are known and carried out properly. Before you start thinking about drafting the paperwork, there are a few things that you should know about wills and minor children.
The Guardian Does Not Receive The Inheritance
When you draft a will, you will be asked to choose a guardian to take care of your children after you pass away. A guardian is an adult individual who is responsible for the needs of the child. These needs include food, shelter, medical care, and education. While a guardian may be able to use your willed assets to take care of your children, the guardian will not be given direct and widespread access to funds. The court will instead control your child's inheritance until he or she turns 18 or 19. The guardian of your child will have to petition the court for the use of the funds out of the inheritance if money is needed. This is true if you do not specify a trustee.
For example, if your child needs braces and the guardian cannot afford the costs associated with orthodontic work, then the court can be petitioned to take money out of your child's inheritance for the cost. This type of process is utilized to make sure guardians are unable to take advantage of minor children and the assets they have inherited. The guardian will also need to send a report to the court that details how finances have been handled throughout the year. This occurs because the guardian may have some access to financial accounts for smaller purchases. Reports help to show the court that the guardian has been responsible with the funds that are available to them.
You Can Create A Trust
If you do not want the court to handle your assets and the inheritance that your child will receive, then you can establish a trust instead. In this case, a trustee will be responsible for the property placed in the trust. This person is separate from the guardian. Your family lawyer can be assigned as the trustee for your child's trust, or you can choose a family member, friend, or a financial adviser. In cases where your child will not receive the bulk of the trust for some years, it is wise to seek out a professional as the trustee. Investments can be cared for properly and money can be transferred or reinvested to encourage growth of the trust.
The trustee will act in the best interest of your child, so you can expect the trustee to provide the guardian with money for the needs of your child. This is true as long as the transfer of money to the guardian is in the best interest of your son or daughter. In general, the trustee will always act in the best interest of your child in a financial capacity. Contact a family lawyer like Wilson Christen LLP to learn more.