As a parent of an infant or young child, you have probably done everything you can think of to provide for your child’s needs right now. However, have you given any thought to the future? The percentage of Americans who have a will is already very small, and it is decreasing. Over the past three years, there has been a 25% decline in the number of Americans who report that they have any sort of estate plan in place, and the current figure is less than one-third.
Many people erroneously assume that estate planning is only for the elderly. However, it is helpful to have a will at any age. If you are a parent, it is especially important to provide for your child’s future with a will in the event that you are not there to see it.
You might assume that if you die, your spouse will become the children’s guardian. However, that may not be a given if your spouse is not a biological parent of your children, and if you are a single parent, guardianship becomes even less certain. Furthermore, if you and your spouse both die, someone would have to care for the children if they are still minors.
Perhaps the most important reason to have a will as a parent is to name a guardian for your children in one of these scenarios. The court may not accept your choice, but it will take your preference into consideration.
Your chosen guardian, whoever he or she might be, may need money to fund the support of the child. Having a will allows you to bequeath funds especially for that purpose so that the guardian does not need to petition the court for permission to use that money.