Nobody in New York wants to think about dying and leaving their children without their parents. Unfortunately, it can happen, and if the parents didn’t plan ahead, they have no control over who ends up raising their children. No matter how young you are, you’re never too young to write a will that protects your children after you’re gone.
Reasons for every parent to have a will
If you and your spouse die without a will, a judge will decide who gets custody of your children. This could be your grandparents, siblings, in-laws or another relative. The judge will try to rule in the children’s best interests, but they don’t know everything about your family’s situation. They could end up condemning your children to an unhappy or abusive childhood.
Once you have a child, you and your spouse should talk about estate planning as soon as possible. An estate law attorney may help you write a will that names a guardian in the event of you and your spouse’s deaths. You’ll be able to choose a relative or friend who shares your values, understands your children and wants to raise them in a good household.
In addition to choosing a guardian, you can also select the assets that you want your children to inherit. You might want to place their assets in a trust fund and name a trustee to distribute the assets over a period of years. This could ensure that your children are financially secure for several years if not the rest of their lives.
What if you don’t have a lot of assets?
Even if you don’t have a lot of assets, an attorney may help you write a basic estate plan that accounts for your children’s futures after your death. You could also divide up your assets among friends and family members. As you accumulate more assets throughout your life, you may want to hire an attorney to help you revise your will and ensure that everything is up to date. You might also revise your will if you get divorced, move to a new state or have another child.