What Is Estate Planning for Families?
Young families are generally filled to the brim with lots of emotions—happiness, exhaustion, excitement, nervousness, the list continues. There are so many things to look forward to, and so many new things to plan for. At Hodgkins Law we can create a customized estate plan that is the perfect fit for you and your family during this exciting time. We want to provide new parents and families with peace of mind knowing that their families are adequately protected.
It’s imperative to protect your family from the unknown, and at Hodgkins Law, we work with you every step of the way. We candidly discuss your goals, create an estate plan that accounts for those goals, and provide you with the customized solution that’s the best fit for you and your family.
According to AARP, only four in ten American adults have a will or trust. When questioned about their lack of estate planning, the majority of people simply said they had not gotten around to it. We understand that planning an estate can be confusing and complicated, but we will work with you to help alleviate those feelings.
Why Engage in Family Estate Planning?
There are plenty of obvious reasons to create an estate plan when you’re having a family, but everyone can approach estate planning at different phases of life. When all family members are involved in the estate planning process, then each family member knows up front how these estate planning decisions could potentially affect them. Quite often, adult children are in a unique position that allows them to offer input and feedback to their parents regarding important estate planning. Even though parents are ultimately responsible for the estate plan, having an open discussion with their adult children about the estate plan can make sense, since typically estate plans are all about the children. In short, an estate plan which includes the relevant family members can help the transition from one generation to the next.
Although most estate plans deal with the items parents are unable to take with them when they die, estate plans truly are about more than possessions and money. Estate plans are about the legacy parents want to leave behind, and, as such, adult children should be a part of the decision-making process. Throughout this process, having an experienced, compassionate, Maine estate planning attorney guiding the plan is an invaluable asset.
How Each Family Estate Plan is Unique
Because each family is unique, each family estate plan is unique. Today’s families come in all shapes, sizes and complexities. As an example, individuals could be living together but not legally married, married for the first time, separated, divorced, single, in a second or subsequent marriage, living together following a divorce or death of a spouse or a same-sex couple living together or married. Added to those designations are the complexities of children.
There may be adult children of a couple, minor children belonging to the couple, children belonging to each partner from prior relationships, children from prior relationships plus a child or children of the couple, stepchildren, grandchildren or adopted children—or a combination of these. These are the issues which make each family unique and require an equally unique estate plan.
Questions to Consider When Creating a Family Estate Plan
Consider the fact that about 40 percent of the adult children surveyed said they felt the distribution of their parents’ estates was not done fairly. This is just one of the many things to consider when preparing an estate plan which will fully address the needs of each family member. Some questions to ask a top estate planning attorney include:
- What should young families do to prepare for the future?
- What are the benefits of a will over a trust and vice-versa?
- How are trustees best chosen?
- How are minor children best provided for?
Necessary Information Required for a Family Estate Plan
Those who have made the decision to engage in estate planning for families should gather specific documents and information prior to meeting with a Maine estate planning attorney, including:
- The names and birthdates of all minor children;
- The names, addresses and birth dates of adult children;
- Names of the chosen executor and alternate executor;
- Names of guardians for minor children;
- A list of assets;
- Approximate net worth;
- Tax planning documents; and
- Any existing estate planning documents.
If there is a family member with a disability, this information will also be necessary, including the nature of the disability, the special needs and the long-term prognosis.
How We Can Help
When considering estate planning for families, it is important to choose an estate planning attorney who is relatable and who will provide the necessary assistance families require. Hodgkins Law supports families who are engaged in the estate planning process. Our firm is dependable, experienced, and will create an exceptional estate plan for your family, as well as provide a comprehensive plan delivery.
We never cut corners when helping clients prepare an estate plan. We are warm, welcoming and trustworthy, but beyond that, we will create a unique plan for each unique family. When a knowledgeable Maine attorney whose only focus is estate planning is required, think Hodgkins Law. The estate planning process at Hodgkins Law is never “cookie cutter,” rather it is individualized. Contact the top estate planning attorney at Hodgkins Law today.