From the moment you realized you were becoming a parent, you have likely been dreaming about the future, envisioning milestones such as graduation and wedding days. But what if you are not around for those celebrations?
Unfortunately, death is a fact of life, and even healthy young parents may die before their children are grown. That is why it is so crucial that you create a will. Proper planning is a way to take care of your children after you are gone. A will can help you accomplish several goals:
Communicate your wishes
Creating a will is not a legal requirement, but dying without one leaves the courts to distribute your possessions. In Minnesota, your surviving spouse and children should inherit your estate. There is a formula for dividing property among other relatives if your spouse does not outlive you. However, a judge’s decisions may be very different than what you would have wanted.
Designate a guardian
If your children do not have a surviving parent, and you did not have a will, courts decide on a guardian. You can avoid this by creating a will and naming a guardian. As a parent, you know your children and their needs better than a judge does. Choose an adult who loves your children and is already in their lives. Discuss your intentions with the potential guardian first. Guardianship is a huge commitment, so ask permission.
Take care of debts
The last thing your grieving children need is calls from debt collectors. You can prevent such a situation by creating a will. In your will, you name an executor who will take care of financial matters upon your death. If you die with debt, the executor pays those debts from your estate, leaving your children free to enjoy their inheritance.