When my son told me that he and his wife were expecting a baby I was overjoyed, and then I asked him if he had life insurance. My son’s reply was that he didn’t need it because he had death in service at work, so I asked him what would happen if he was no longer working at that place when he died. The answer was that there was no cover in place and, the position was rectified without delay.
This is just one of the issues which is crucial when thinking about estate planning where people have young families. It’s not easy to think about the death either or both parents of minor children. It’s even harder if your child is disabled and you care for them, what will happen after both parents have died is a constant worry which doesn’t disappear when the child reaches 18.
Parents need to think about who would be able to provide the best home for the child and appoint them as testamentary guardians who would have parental responsibility for the child. I have often wondered why parents don’t make Wills even if it is for this purpose alone and to remove the risk of their child being taken into care. In speaking with young people over the years, I think it is because the parents can’t agree about the guardians and end up disagreeing and even falling out about it. Mum thinks the best person is her sister, but dad thinks that it is his sister- oh dear.
Remember that it is possible to appoint a guardian with a replacement as a back-up, just in case the first named can’t act for some reason (e.g. illness or hardship).
Another really important appointment is the trustees who will be legally responsible for managing and investing the legacy for your child until he or she reaches 18 or 21 /25 if you wish to extend the age.
Provisions can be added into the Will to enable money to be used for the child’s maintenance and benefit while they are young. These payments would be at the discretion of the trustees so whom you choose is crucial.
At the end of the day, by making Wills, parents are safeguarding and protecting their children in the event of a catastrophe.
This is a longer piece than usual and there are so many issues, and this only covers the tip. I am always happy to discuss concerns and run through the various issues and options. It’s often important to have the conversation, then think and then instruct us to prepare the Will.