If someone has children, it is very important that they have a will. In addition to naming individuals to be given a person’s property, a will can also be used to name the person that will take care of children if both parents pass on or cannot do so. A person dies without a will is considered intestate, and state law will determine who cares for a child and who gets the decedent’s property.
Along with having a will, people may also want to set up a trust for their children. Many people associate trusts with individuals who are rich or have complex assets to leave behind, but trusts can be beneficial to parents who do not want to give their money to their children in one lump sum.
The advantage of using trusts is that people can set them up so that assets are distributed over a period of time instead of all at once, which is how they are doled out if they are left to someone in a ill. Trusts can be set up to dole out property after a certain period of time has passed, or assets can be given to someone if they meet certain requirements, such as graduating from college.
Estate planning tends to be a different process for everybody because each individual’s situation is different. Even people in the same income bracket will often have different wishes for how they want their assets distributed when they pass on. There are also documents that can give people control over who makes choices for them when they cannot do so due to incapacity, such as powers of attorney, that an estate planning attorney can describe.