Some people think it is morbid to write up a Will; however, it is too important to avoid having one, especially if you are a parent. You should update your Will after major life changes such as marriage or the birth of a child. As a parent, a Will is the best way to ensure your child inherits what you want to leave them and to designate guardians for in the event your children have not reached the age of majority at the time of your death.
Inheritance and Trusts
When you establish a Will, you can determine the manner in which your estate is distributed to your children and others. An inheritance is a gift of money or property,that is given to your heirs or desired beneficiaries. Without a Will to specify who inherits your estate, your estate assets will be distributed pursuant to the laws of intestacy. A Will also helps you ensure that keepsakes and family heirlooms are properly passed on distributed according to your wishes.
You can also set up trusts for the benefit of your children to distribute the value of your estate in a manner of your choosing. A trust details how the assets will be managed and distributed upon your death. Trusts can be established to give your heirs funds for certain uses, such as living expenses or college; or they can be given to them upon attaining a certain age.
Guardianship is important to ensure that the proper guardians are appointed for your child in the event they are minors at the time of your passing. Parents may nominate a guardian for their children in their Wills but only a judge can actually appoint the guardian. Without prior planning, the courts will appoint someone themselves who you may not think is a proper choice for them. In most cases, they will first look to your parents, siblings or your children, if any are over 18.
Parents should nominate persons as guardians based on which family members could care for and manage their children. The guardian may not be, and does not have to be, the same person left in charge of the funds that you leave for them.
For more than 40 years, our firm has been assisting people like you with long term care and estate planning needs. We bring you the knowledge and resources to protect you and your family. Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC do not provide tax, legal, medical, or accounting advice by articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. Call 718.477.7700 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning attorney at Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC. We proudly serve Staten Island, Brooklyn and the other boroughs of New York City.