An estate plan serves many purposes, but to those who have children, it serves as a way to protect those children after you have passed. You may be a young couple with children or you may be part of a blended family, meaning that you have remarried and had children prior to your marriage with your new partner. In these events, many people ask themselves, “How can I ensure that when I pass away, my spouse will honor my wishes and give my children what I have instructed?” Young couples ask themselves, “What if my spouse remarries, how can I ensure that my share of assets passes down to my children?”
Below are three ways to maximize your estate planning to protect your children.
1. Revocable Living Trust
Many parties believe that a Will is enough to protect assets, however, a Revocable Living Trust gives you many options to not only protect your assets but to protect your children in the process. A trust is a written instrument created during a person’s lifetime, that manages and preserves your assets while alive, and distributes those assets after a person has passed away all the while avoiding the tedious probate process. A trust can be managed while you are still alive, and when you pass, the instructions you leave in your trust must be followed by whoever you choose as Trustee of the Trust. Provided that those instructions are carefully written and thought out.
2. Who Can Serve as Trustee?
Your spouse can serve as Trustee of your trust once you pass away. However, if you believe that they may not honor your wishes, or that there is a chance that they will remarry and not preserve those assets for your children, you can further protect those assets in various ways. You can always choose an independent Trustee, your spouse need not be named as Trustee. However, if you prefer for your spouse to be involved, you are able to name a Co-Trustee to serve alongside your Spouse for checks and balances.
3. Specific Provisions in Your Trust
A Trust is a flexible instrument that can be drafted however you desire. This includes adding specific provisions in the event that your spouse remarries. If your spouse remarries, you can disinherit them to ensure that your children are the remaining beneficiaries and receive assets the way you have outlined in your Trust Plan. Additionally, you can further protect your children by leaving a specific portion of your assets to them. Leaving a portion set aside for your children allows you to create terms for withdrawal rights, and further protects those assets from reaching anyone but those intended under the trust document. Ultimately, a trust is tailor-made individually for all your wants, needs, and concerns and also allows you to have maximum control of the distribution of all those assets you worked for during your lifetime.
We have outlined a few ways that you can protect your assets in a blended family or in the event that your surviving spouse remarries. The Hill Law Group is here to assist you with all your family planning needs.