This week, a client suggested to me that it would be a good holiday gift idea to pay for estate planning for their grown children. Not only is it a good idea, it is a great idea!
Granted, it probably isn’t a gift that will make the children go wild with joy, but it is a gift that they need. It is also a gift that may save the children immense heartache, anxiety and money in the event tragedy strikes.
Some of the basic benefits an estate plan can provide:
Powers of Attorney
If your grown child is injured or becomes incapacitated, an agent is in place to take care of financial and healthcare matters.
If the grown child has minor children and both parents are killed, a proper Will should name the guardian for the minor children. This assignment can eliminate fights in the family over who should be guardian or if it doesn’t eliminate fights, it, at least, tells the judge who the parents have designated to be guardian regardless of who objects.
A proper Will should name a trustee to manage assets/money for any minor children or any children that the parents feel need oversight. Alabama law will allow a child to take possession of assets at age 19; however, few parents feel 19 is the proper age to give substantial assets to a child. If you feel the child should be older before receiving inheritance, you will want to state the age and specify that the trustee is in charge until the child reaches that age.
A Will allows your adult child to decide who should receive assets regardless of their familial relationship. Without a Will, Alabama law decides who will get your assets.
Young adults (and even older adults) rarely think about estate planning because:
- they are busy living life
- it is easy to procrastinate thinking about mortality when you’re “young and immortal”
- they may not have the spare funds to pay for an estate plan.
However, taking the time and effort to create an estate plan can be very helpful to your adult children. If your children do not have estate plans, paying for their plans is an excellent gift idea.
It doesn’t allow you to tell them what to say in their plan, but it will give you peace of mind that they have things in order. And, you can tuck wrapped pens (for them to sign the paperwork) into their stockings or tuck a check into their holiday cards if they live far away!