Securing Your Children’s Future

Educating childrenAs a parent, you're always thinking about what's best for your children. But have you thought about what might happen if you're no longer around? It's not a pleasant subject, but it is important. Planning for your children's future is even more important if you're not around to help.

A recent article from Military.com, titled “Protect Your Children's Future”, offers some ideas on how to protect your children.  For starters, make sure to you have a will drafted by an experienced estate planning attorney. Be sure to name one or more people to be the legal guardian of any of your children you may have under age 18. [Note: In some states, like Virginia, a will is not the only way to appoint such a guardian. Be sure to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in your own state.]

A guardian is tasked with making decisions regarding the care and upbringing of your child. You should talk to this person prior to drafting your will to be sure they accept the responsibility. You should also have a back-up guardian in case the designated guardian is unable to serve. In addition, you can name someone other than the guardian to be in charge of overseeing your children's financial affairs.  This serves as sort of a built in “checks and balances” to make sure the guardian is not tempted to use some of the inheritance for personal purposes.  

In Virginia, you cannot leave a minor money or property outright, so a better plan to help your children financially is to establish a trust to protect the property you intend to pass on to them.   This allows a Trustee to utilize the funds you have left to your children to finance their education and provide for their general needs based on your instructions in the trust document.  As with the guardian, the most important decision you make in this trust is designating the right person to serve as the trustee since this is the person who will manage the assets and make distributions. Trustees can be individuals or institutions, as well as a combination of the two.

The original article recommends having a financial protection plan that includes Life and Disability Income Insurance. What would happen to your children if you were to die or become disabled and unable to work? Would there be enough assets to provide for their upbringing and education? An experienced insurance professional can help you determine how much money would be necessary to help protect your children in coordination with your will or a trust.

Living Documents. All parents need an up-to-date power of attorney, health care proxy and living will. A power of attorney allows a trusted agent to pay your bills for you and manage your finances according to the terms of the document. The other documents give you the opportunity to express your desires concerning the use of life support and other treatments to keep you alive, and permit medical decisions to be made for you if you are incapacitated.  Although no one likes to think about this, you do have options when it comes to protecting your estate and your family. Take these steps now to help prevent problems for your loved ones.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.    

Reference: Military.com (February 27, 2015) “Protect Your Children's Future”

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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
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  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
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Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.