Estate Planning for Young Families: Protecting Your Loved Ones

Whether you are new parents, or you have just started to think about having children, you may not automatically consider the need for estate planning for your family. After all, you may have just purchased your first home, embarked on your career, and started accumulating savings. However, regardless of the amount of assets you may own, having an estate plan is crucial to protect not only the property you have accumulated, but your family, and particularly, your children.

A Florida estate planning attorney at Kramer Green can assist in drafting an effective and comprehensive estate plan for young families. You can customize your estate plan so that it clearly reflects your wishes for your children if an unexpected catastrophe were to occur. Taking this step can allow parents or expectant parents to adequately provide for and protect their children in these circumstances.

An estate plan for a young family typically will contain various documents, which may differ according to a family’s particular needs. In this post, we will discuss these documents, their contents, and their purpose.

Elements of Estate Planning

Last Will and Testament

In a Last Will and Testament, parents can specify the guardian(s) whom they have chosen for their child(ren) should both natural parents pass away. In many instances, courts prefer to keep minor children with their closest relatives if their natural parents pass away. Therefore, if you don’t wish your closest relatives to raise your children in the event of your death, it is especially important to name a guardian for your children in your Will.

If you don’t use a Revocable Living Trust, you also must use your Will to list who should receive all your assets, including real estate and personal property. Those individuals will receive your property through the probate process. However, your minor children cannot own property worth more than $15,000, so they would need a court-appointed guardian to represent their financial interests and hold property on their behalf until they turn 18. Again, as will be discussed below, a Revocable Living Trust may be a less complex and expensive means of avoiding this requirement.

Health Care Surrogate with HIPAA Designation

Health Care Surrogate Designations allow another person to make medical decisions, consent to medical treatment, and access medical records on another person’s behalf. Adults typically should have a Health Care Surrogate with HIPAA Designation in place for themselves.

However, parents also should designate a Health Care Surrogate for their minor children if they are temporarily unable to make medical decisions or consent to medical treatment for their minor children. This designation can be useful if the parents are traveling and cannot be reached, or if the parents are in an accident and incapacitated.

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney is a critical part of any estate plan. Under Florida Statutes § 709.2101 et seq., a durable power of attorney allows you to designate another person to handle your business, legal, and financial affairs. Therefore, if you become incapacitated by illness or injury, another person, such as your spouse, can handle these matters on your behalf. Likewise, you can name a secondary person as your power of attorney to handle your affair if both you and your spouse were to become incapacitated at the same time, or if your spouse were to pass away, become incapacitated, or otherwise be unable to act on your behalf.

Living Will

A Living Will allows you to express your personal preferences for end-of-life medical care if you are incapacitated and unable to communicate. More specifically, you can indicate which life-prolonging procedures you want administered or withheld if you are in an end stage or terminal condition or in a persistent vegetative state, and there is no reasonable likelihood of recovering.

Revocable Living Trust

One common option in the estate planning process is to utilize a Revocable Living Trust for your assets. Not only does this alternative allow you to bypass the probate process, but it permits you to designate a trustee to remain in control of the funds that you wish to leave to your children until they reach the age that you think is appropriate. Since it is a Revocable Trust, you can change the terms of the trust at any time as long as one of the creators of the trust is alive and legally competent to do so.

Look to Kramer Green for Assistance with Your Family’s Estate Plan

A Florida estate planning lawyer at Kramer, Green, Zuckerman, Greene & Buchsbaum, P.A. is prepared to assist you with drafting and executing an estate plan for your family. We have the experience to guide you through this process to reach your goals and objectives. We proudly serve Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Aventura, Pembroke Pines, Hallandale Beach, Miami, and the surrounding areas. Contact our office today at (954) 966-2112 or online to schedule a time to discuss your legal questions and concerns with our estate planning attorney.

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