As the summer months quickly approach, I think of all the time and effort many of us, as parents, have spent keeping our children on task throughout the school year – always making sure homework is complete, making sure lunches are ready, making sure uniforms are on correctly or that sports gear is in in the car – essentially making sure our children are always prepared for the next step. For many of us, the summer is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the busy school year. And almost as quickly as it gets here, summer lasts one or two short months and then, once again, in August and September, parents across the United States will spend countless hours perusing their local malls and retailers to purchase school supplies, books, backpacks, lunch boxes, and clothes so that our children will be “ready” for the upcoming school year.
Interestingly, many of us never even consider whether we have adequately prepared our children for unexpected life events, such as the death or incapacity of a parent or parents. This is hands down one of the most difficult topics to discuss with parents, not just because most tend to be young. Of course the topic is difficult to digest and no one wants to imagine not being here for their children. But, what if? As parents, we have always strived to best equip them for the biggest issue facing them but yet many of us have not planned for this type of final event. Indeed, the most common question I am asked by estate planning clients with minor children is “are we doing this too soon?” The answer is a resounding NO. In fact, it is the most important planning you can do. Estate planning when you have minor children will not only provide infinite guidance to your family (and potentially, the court) of your desires with respect to guardianship of your minor children, it can also provide a means by which your children will receive continued support after your death or incapacity.