The holidays are fast approaching. Naturally, people shift their focus away from conflict, and
narrow in on their family and loved ones during this time of the year. The same shift occurs
in the legal field as potential clients think less about litigation and more about the people who
are most important to them. For that reason, I am focusing this article on protecting those
most important assets in our lives, our loved ones.
When I ask people if they have an estate plan, most people ask me what an estate plan is. "Is
that like... a trust or a will?" Together with not knowing what exactly an estate plan is, most
people I speak with do not think they need a plan until they are old and rich. Let me clarify
what an estate plan is and who should really have an estate plan.
An estate plan consists of several documents which protect different parts of your overall
estate. For example, most basic estate plans will include a trust, a pour-over will, a power of
attorney, and a health care directive. Generally speaking, a trust will protect your property, a
will protects your children, a power of attorney assists you, and a health care directive ensures
your health care needs are cared for properly in the event you are unable to speak for yourself.
I think we can all agree that our most important assets are our children. If you have
minor children, you need an estate plan. As mentioned above,
a will provides for who will care for them and how your children
will be cared for in the event both you and your spouse pass
away. I understand that the thought is almost unthinkable, but imagine if the unthinkable
occurs, and you have left no direction for who should care for your children and how they
should be cared for?
A will can provide for who will take care of your children in the event you and your spouse
are no longer around to do so. Your trust can create trusts with rules to ensure that any assets
and insurance money you leave to provide financially for your children are used properly
to meet your children's needs. By creating an estate plan you can avoid placing your relatives
or close friends in a position where they have to fight over your children.
Your will gives the Court direction on how and who you wanted to care for your children,
so that the Court, which knows little about your children or your relatives,
is not forced to simply make a decision about the custody of your children.
If, for example, you trust the care and up bringing to one relative who is really good
with children, but would prefer your other relative who is a CPA to
handle your children's finances, you can do that. Your preference will
be strongly considered by the Court in determining who cares for your
children if you are no longer able. If you do not leave direction, then
your relatives are left to petition the court and argue over who should
be the caregiver of your children. Why would you ever allow someone
else to decide who cares for your children?
So as we approach the holiday season, consider creating an estate plan to ensure that your most
important assets, your children, are protected in the event the unthinkable occurs.
Ammon Nelson Law recognizes the unique characteristics and varying goals of each individual case, and provides customized, comprehensive and results driven legal services in the areas of divorce, custody, guardianship, personal injury, trusts, wills, and other civil litigation. Legal disputes can cause emotional, psychological, and even physical side effects which ultimately negatively affect a legal case. Ammon Nelson Law builds and maintains strategic partnerships with professionals from a variety of industries to ensure each case becomes the first step toward a healthy and well-balanced life for the client.