If you die without a WILL that nominates a trusted person to be guardian for your minor children, a PROBATE COURT JUDGE will make the decision and may grant custody of your children to someone you do not want.
If you become injured or are otherwise unable to manage your personal finances, an ATTORNEY-IN-FACT (who is appointed in a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Matters document) can manage financial matters for you and your children. If you fail to do this, a PROBATE COURT JUDGE may appoint someone that you do not want.
It is wise to discuss your priorities regarding your children’s education and the costs to maintain their standard of living with a qualified financial planner. That discussion should include purchasing a sufficient amount of LIFE INSURANCE.
An attorney can advise you how to name beneficiaries of life insurance, investments, and assets of your estate in a way that ensures the proceeds will be used to care for your children. If you leave enough assets where there will likely be some remaining after your youngest child graduates from college, you will also want to discuss strategies to ensure the money benefits your children while they are young adults and thereafter.
Do any of your children have special needs? If so, an estate planning attorney can help you use a TRUST to provide for your child’s medical, educational, and/or financial needs.