Congratulations! You are in the midst of an exciting adventure, but it’s an adventure with real-life concerns. You might be asking yourself: “Do I need a will or trust to protect my children?” According to a recent Findlaw.com survey, 60% of Americans don’t even have a simple will to protect their kids. Learning about estate planning, including wills and trusts, is important for every new parent. Making plans for your possible death or incapacity is an important part of your new responsibilities. It may not be an pleasant task, but that doesn’t mean that you can just cross your fingers and hope that the worst won’t happen to you. A well-versed estate planning lawyer will walk you through the maze of choices you need to make as a responsible parent. “Daniel is the kind of estate planning lawyer I can see working with for long-term family legal needs. He is very reliable and attentive.” – Jill B. of San Diego Nominating a guardian: Guardians are persons appointed by a court to care for children who don’t have a parent available to care for them. In a guardianship, the court appoints a “guardian of the person”, to make decisions about personal care, such as where the child will live and what kind of care they will receive. The court also appoints a “guardian of the estate” to handle the child’s financial affairs until he or she comes of age. As a new parent, if you have a question about guardianships, or would like to nominate a guardian in case one needs to be appointed for your own child, it’s important to talk with an estate planning attorney. Choosing a person to nominate as guardian is not easy. You will have many questions. We can answer those questions for you. The place to nominate a guardian for your child is in your will. You can use a simple will, husband and wife wills, or a pour-over will attached to a revocable living trust. The best choice for you will depend on your family and financial situation. We’ll provide you with the help you need to make the choice, and craft a nomination that can survive challenges by surviving relatives who might disagree with your choices. Prevent squandering of assets: With no will, or even a simple will or husband and wife wills, your children will be entitled to their whole inheritance when they reach the age of majority. MSN.com’s Money Central has rated this number Three in its list of the Six Traps of Estate Planning. Can you imagine having a windfall when you’re 18? Sudden wealth and eighteen year-olds is a bad mix; they rarely have the maturity to resist temptation, and some are susceptible to swindlers. Select a testamentary trust or revocable living trust to delay the distribution of your assets until your children will be more mature. Also ask us about spendthrift provisions, which will prevent your child from pledging his or her inheritance as collateral for a loan! Preserve your property for your children: It’s important to minimize costs of administering your estate. There are many different costs associated with the passing of property on death. Doing nothing is the most inefficient way of going about things: a sizable portion of your estate may go to the government or lawyers, rather than to those you love. With proper planning, some of these costs (such as probate fees) are completely avoidable. Others (such as federal estate tax) can be minimized. Without estate planning, though, you will leave less for your family. Call us now to make a friendly, no-obligation appointment to discuss how we might help you protect your new family. (858) 519-8020.