A will is your right to choose how to distribute your assets after you are gone. Especially with children, it's essential to think about:
- Guardianship. If you do not appoint a guardian for your minor child (and if you and your spouse die at the same time in an accident), the state will appoint one for you. Most times, the court appoints relatives. But you may know something about that relative that the court doesn't for example, that he or she, although the best prepared financially, isn't interested in raising children. This is your chance to appoint the person who you think will do the best job. It's always wise to get that person's permission before you include them in your will. When choosing, think about the person's health, age, finances, and willingness to care for children.
- Trusts: Tax Savings and Deferred Distributions. You might also think about how you distribute your assets to care for children, especially if raised by another person. Research trusts. Typically, any estate money bequeathed to a minor is held until he or she reaches the age of majority in the state (typically 18, but check with your state). At that time, the money is given in one lump sum after taxes. But you can include provisions in a trust to keep the money until a later time, or to be used for specific expenses such as education. Talk with your lawyer about possible options.
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