When you become a parent, your child’s safety becomes your top priority. You lift them carefully, strap them into car seats and keep your eyes peeled for anything that might harm them. In doing all this, you might start to forget that bad things can happen to you, too.
One thing you can do to protect your child is to draft a legally valid will.
Everyone needs a will, especially parents
Everyone should have a will to express how they want their property to be distributed after their death, and to make their wishes legally enforceable. But your will isn’t just about you and what you want. When you have a will, you make the estate administration process a lot easier and faster for your loved ones. Even if you don’t have a lot of property to pass on, you will spare your loved ones a lot of headaches if you make certain decisions in advance.
For parents of young children, this is especially important. In your will, you can name a guardian for your children, and you can specify how you want your assets to be distributed to them.
If, by some awful chance, both you and the other parent should die in an accident, and you have not created a will, the court must decide these issues for you. It will decide who will serve as a guardian for your children and will distribute your assets to your next of kin according to a one-size-fits-all formula under state law.
All of this takes time. While the court is working through the details, your children may become wards of the state, perhaps living with foster parents. You may have left behind property that can make their lives easier, but the court will also have to figure out how to distribute that property and must appoint someone to be in charge of it.
The results can be very different from what you wanted, and can be very hard on your kids.
These are just some of the reasons why estate planning is essential, especially for parents.