Protect your children with a will
Joe stopped by the other day to talk about the need to update his and his wife’s wills. Joe’s father recently died, and it made him think about what would happen to his young children if he and his wife should die prematurely.
The need for estate planning
If a person dies in Minnesota without a will, state law decides how his property will be distributed. The state will also allow a judge to decide who will be appointed guardians for minor children if both husband and wife are deceased.
However, if the parents have wills, the wills can establish to whom their assets will be passed and who will take care of their minor children.
• If parents with minor children die without a will, a judge will select a guardian.
• Guardians for minor children should be appointed in the parents’ wills.
• Wills can create a trust to hold parents’ assets until children are old enough.
The will can also establish a trust, called a testamentary trust, which will go into effect when both parents are deceased. This trust will hold their assets until their children reach an age at which the parents feel they are old enough to receive their inheritance. The trust will be managed by a trustee who will invest and distribute those funds.
Parents with minor children should have provisions in their wills to appoint a guardian for those children.
The guardian will be responsible to provide a loving home for their children. In addition, the guardian will be responsible for the education and religious training of the children.
Ideally, guardians should be young enough so that they are likely to live until the children are grown. Alternates should also be selected if the guardians appointed in the will are unable to complete their service.
Joe and his wife, Mary, choose Mary’s brother and sister-in-law as guardians. Even though the children are close to both sets of grandparents, Joe and Mary felt that since Mary’s brother and sister-in-law are close to their age, that they will most likely be able care for the children until they are 18.
It is important as well that the guardians are asked to serve prior to being named. This assures that the guardians are willing to take on this responsibility.
Anderson is a farm financial management consultant in Redwood Falls. E-mail him at email@example.com.
This article published in the June, 2010 edition of THE FARMER.
All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.