Estate Planning for Parents of Minor Children

Estate Planning for Parents of Minor Children

Estate Planning for Paren…

Life with young children is always busy. Between providing for them, caring for them, and keeping them entertained, there is not a lot of time left for anything else. That makes it all too easy to put off any tasks that don’t seem urgent—including making an estate plan.

Most parents of young children know that they need an estate plan, but it’s easy to avoid making it a priority. As young parents, you may feel that it will be years or decades before you need an estate plan. The truth is that having an estate plan is one of the most important things that you can do now to protect your family and provide for your children.

Many people are uncomfortable thinking about estate planning, but once they have sat down with an attorney and made a plan, the discomfort is replaced by a different feeling: peace of mind. You will sleep better knowing that whatever happens, your children’s future is secure.

Why Young Families Need an Estate Plan

If you have minor children, estate planning is essential, regardless of how many assets you have. Estate planning is partly about money, of course, but it is really about being in control. Putting an estate plan in place means that you are exercising control over your family’s future: who will care for your children, how they will be provided for, and who will make decisions for you if you can no longer make them for yourself due to illness or injury.

If you die without an estate plan, your family faces a double burden: grieving your loss while trying to figure out what will happen to them without you. If you haven’t named a guardian for your child and their other parent isn’t available, a court will decide who raises them, and it may not be the person you would have chosen. If you suffer a sudden injury or accident that leaves you unable to make financial or medical decisions for you, a court will appoint a guardian and conservator to make those decisions. Will that person be someone you trust? Will they know your wishes, and carry them out?

When you make an estate plan, you don’t just know the answers—you control them. You know that a person you selected will care for your child, and someone you trust will manage any assets you leave. If you are not in a position to make decisions for yourself, a person you chose will have that power, and will understand your wishes.

Components of an Estate Plan for Parents of Minor Children

Depending on your situation, your estate plan might include:

  • Last will and testament: this is the basic building block of an estate plan. In your will, you name an executor to manage your estate, and a guardian for your minor children.
  • Durable financial power of attorney: this document allows you to appoint someone you trust to manage your financial affairs if you are not legally capable of doing so.
  • Advance medical directives: advance medical directives allow you to appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions for you if you are not legally capable of doing so. Advance medical directives can also include your wishes about end-of-life care
  • HIPAA releases: these documents authorize your medical providers to release information about your health to people you care about.
  • Living trusts: also called revocable living trusts, living trusts let you use and enjoy property during your life and pass it to your beneficiaries after death without going through probate.
  • Special needs trusts: if you have a child with disabilities or special needs who may need government benefits, a special needs trust allows you to provide them with support without jeopardizing their eligibility for benefits.

By creating an estate plan, you not only provide for your family in the event of your death, you offer them peace of mind in the present.

Houston Estate Planning Lawyer for Young Families

I understand that taking the first step toward making an estate plan—contacting an attorney—can be the hardest part. My priority is making the process as easy on you as possible. I listen to your concerns, ask you questions you might not have thought about, and work together with you to create an estate plan designed for your family’s unique needs.

I have seen firsthand the devastation families can experience when they don’t have an estate plan in place. I am committed to preventing those problems and helping my clients achieve peace of mind. Most estate plans are offered at a flat fee, so you can get the security your family needs at a reasonable, predictable cost.

If you have a young family in the Houston area, but you don’t have an estate plan, don’t put off planning for one more day. Contact Bashirah Martin to schedule a consultation and get the peace of mind you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Choose a Business Entity?

The type of business entity you choose will depend on how many owners the business has, potential exposure to liability, and how you want to pay taxes on the business. Available business entities include C corporations, S corporations, partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability companies. If you own the business by yourself, you can run it as a sole proprietorship.

It’s best to discuss the pros and cons of each type of business entity with a business law attorney who understands your circumstances and goals and can direct you to the form that is right for you (as well as preparing the documents needed to establish your business and register it with the state).

Do I Need an Employer Identification Number for My Business?

You may be able to avoid getting an employer identification number (EIN) for your business if you have a sole proprietorship or a single-member limited liability company (LLC), but most businesses need to have an EIN, which functions as a tax identification number with the IRS. Your business uses this number to file tax returns, open business bank accounts, and apply for various licenses. If you are not required to have an EIN, you may be able to use your Social Security number, but this may expose you to identity theft. It’s better to obtain an EIN for your business; your attorney can help you with the process.

What is the Difference Between an Employee and an Independent Contractor?

Whether someone who does work for your business is an employee or an independent contractor depends on the level of control your business exercises over the relationship. For instance, can your business control what the worker does and how they do their job? Does your business reimburse the worker’s expenses, or provide tools and supplies? Does your business offer the worker a retirement plan, vacation pay, insurance, or other benefits? Does the worker perform similar work for other businesses, or only for your business?

Whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor makes a difference from a legal and tax standpoint. Employment and labor laws do not apply to a worker who is an independent contractor, and no taxes are withheld from an independent contractor’s pay. Employees, on the other hand, have Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes withheld from their pay.

Do I Need an Estate Plan for My Business?

Yes, you do! Planning for a business after the death or retirement of an owner is called succession planning, and it is essential to making sure the business is successful after a smooth transition to the new owner. If you have put a lot of effort and resources into building your business, don’t let it all go to waste by failing to plan—especially if you want the business to keep providing for your family after you’re gone.

For More Information

Contact us to discuss your legal issue and learn how we can accomplish your goals and protect your interests.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.