How can I provide for my minor children

  1. Name a Guardian in Your Will
    If you have at least one child under the age of 18, you should name a guardian in your will to take care of your children in case both parents die before the child reaches the age of 18.

    1. Guardian’s Duties Keep in mind when choosing a guardian that he or she will have the following responsibilities:
      1. to provide a loving home for your children;
      2. to provide educational opportunities for your children;
      3. to provide religious and/or moral training for your children; and
      4. to provide reasonable discipline for your children.
    2. How to Choose Your Guardian
      1. It is best to name at least one alternate guardian in case your first choice cannot serve.
      2. At least one of your choices for guardian should be your age or younger so there is a good chance he or she will be able to serve
        until your youngest child turns 18.
  2. Execute a Will with a Testamentary Trust
    If you do not want your children to receive their inheritance outright at the age of 18, you can execute a will with a testamentary trust.

    1. Testamentary Trust Basics
      1. A testamentary trust is not funded until after death. There is no need to transfer the title to any assets during your lifetime.
      2. The testamentary trust only goes into effect if both parents die before a child reaches the age the parents have designated for him
        or her to receive all of the trust assets.
      3. The will with a testamentary trust allows you to name a trustee who will invest your children’s inheritance and distribute as much income and principal as needed for the children’s support and education.
      4. In addition, you can state at what age you wish the trustee to distribute all or part of the principal to your children (e.g., one-half (1/2) at age 25 and one-half (1/2) at age 30).
    2. Trustee’s Duties
      Keep in mind when choosing a trustee that he or she will be responsible for investing the trust assets wisely and for exercising good judgment when making the discretionary distributions to the beneficiaries.
    3. How to Choose Your Trustee
      1. Most people prefer to name a family member, but it is also possible to have a corporate trustee such as a bank trust department.
      2. It is best to name several successor trustees, at least one of whom is approximately your age or younger, so there is a good chance he or she will be able to serve until your youngest child is old enough to receive the final distribution of trust assets.
      3. It may be recommended that you choose a trustee who is not the guardian in order to provide a checks and balances system for money requests from the guardian, but in many families there may be only one good option available for both positions.
    4. Trustee Designated as Contingent Beneficiary of Assets Passing by Contract
      In order to ensure that your non-probate assets with a named beneficiary will be added to the testamentary trust assets, you should change your contingent beneficiary designation on your life insurance policy and other appropriate non-probate assets to “the trustee named in my will dated (insert date of will).”
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