Estate Planning with minor children

Planning for your child is never easy, more so when you are not around. How can you ensure that your child will be taken care of when you are not around?

Most young parents think that Estate Planning is for the old. But life can be cruel. Imagine a situation where a couple is travelling in a car that meets up with an accident. Suddenly, the world of their children could turn upside down.

Estate Planning becomes a must if you have a minor child. You can appoint a guardian of your choice in your Will, a guardian who, you feel, would love, care for and bring up your child in the similar manner that you would if you were around. In the absence of a Will, there may be disputes between your and your spouse’s family regarding the custody of the child and the Court will ultimately appoint the guardian which may not be aligned with your choice. This whole situation may leave the child feeling confused, emotionally distressed or even abandoned. Thus, a well drafted Will that provides for the guardian who will take care of the minor child if both the parent are no more is very necessary to avoid all such issues.

Appointing a guardian for your child requires a lot of deliberation and discussion between you and your spouse. It is extremely important that both the parents are in agreement with the name of the guardian and mention the same in their respective Wills.

A Will also helps you to provide guidelines to be followed by the guardian for the upbringing of the child and management and utilization of your assets for your child. Thus, while choosing a guardian, the parents must be mindful of certain factors, like, the child’s bonding with the guardian, his existing responsibilities, his values and beliefs, etc.

It is pertinent to note that your child is the guardian’s responsibility only till he is a minor (less than 18 years of age). Legally at the age of 18, a child becomes eligible to inherit his share of assets from your wealth after your demise.At such a young age a child may not have the maturity and ability to handle the wealth and may even end up losing it all by taking bad investment decisions. To avoid such a situation, a trust can be created to hold the assets even after the child attains majority and provide for the benefits of the child. Thus, a trust may provide for the support and maintenance of the child, his education, marriage and all other expenses in a guided manner. It is also possible to put the guidelines regarding investment decisions in the trust deed which the Trustees need to follow.

Thus, whether a Will or a Trust, Estate Planning with Minor Children becomes of utmost importance if you want to secure the future of your minor child and make sure that your child is well cared for even when you and your spouse are gone and your hard earned money is utilized for your child in an efficient and effective manner for his benefit, without leaving any possibility of the same getting frittered away.

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