Some of the most heartwrenching stories shown on the news are the ones of women (and men) who lost their lives way too soon and leave behind small children.
Our thoughts immediately go to those children with thoughts of who will raise them now and how will they be able to care for them financially.
Was the family prepared for this kind of event? Is your family?
Are you preparing for a family legacy?
No one likes to consider the possibility of leaving this world while their kids are still young and vulnerable.
Planning for death is not on our minds. However, the reality is, no one has the promise of tomorrow.
It is vital to make preparations for the care of your children and the handling of your assets in the event of your passing.
Everyone needs to take the time to write a will.
While this may seem like a daunting task, here is a guide to help point you in the right direction.
The Will Itself
In simple terms, your will is a legal document that spells out the details of your final wishes.
It keeps you in the driver’s seat of your affairs after you pass.
Without a will, many decisions will fall into the hands of the court based on the laws in your state.
Those decisions may not even come close to how you would prefer things to be handled.
The decisions include not only the division and allocation of money and property but also the care of your children.
Depending on your family situation, the courts will decide who gets guardianship of your children.
If you are married to the other biological parent, it will most likely be them.
However, if you have remarried, are single/divorced, or living in a civil union, the courts may place the kids with someone you would never choose.
A will puts the power back in your corner.
Here is valuable information on wills and other legal services in the state of Texas.
Choosing a guardian to take over the responsibility of raising your children is not a decision to take lightly.
If the task does not fall directly to your spouse, then serious thought needs to go into your choice.
It cannot be based solely on who they get along with, although that is undoubtedly an important factor.
The person you entrust with your children should also be emotionally and physically capable of taking on this task.
Are they raising children of their own?
How will your children fit into their home and lifestyle?
Do their values and discipline style line up with yours?
Your appointed guardian should also be financially responsible.
The terms of the will should also provide the money needed for this new job, but the guardian must be good with money and use it wisely.
Finally, and probably most importantly, talk with this person and get their thoughts and perspective.
Make sure they are willing to take on this job.
Discuss the impact on their lives as well as the kids and make sure they are fully committed to assume this role.
You may be thinking you don’t have enough money to even worry about a will.
It isn’t about the amount of money; it’s how you want it distributed.
It is also about making sure all the final bills and arrangements are taken care of.
You need to assign an executor.
It will be their job to handle all of the financial obligations that come after your passing.
This is a big responsibility, so make sure you choose someone you can trust.
If you do not name one, the courts will.
The executor and the guardian can be the same person, but they do not have to be.
However, the two will need to be able to work together, so the guardian has the necessary financial help with their additional expenses.
Depending on your assets, you will also want to set up a trust, so there is money available for the children when they are out on their own.
How to Write a Will
There are several ways you can go about preparing a will.
There are online services that will walk you through the process, and everything can be taken care of in a reasonable short amount of time.
This is a good option for those who have a simple plan for guardianship and distribution of assets.
If things are not quite that simple, it is a good idea to hire a lawyer, such as a Los Angeles Attorney for the Elderly, to help with the preparation of the will.
They are experienced in the laws of your area and know how to guide you to get the best outcome and will work to ensure your wishes are followed through.
Life Insurance for a Family Legacy
Family life insurance is another often overlooked safety net.
It is so important to have this cushion should a tragic event affect your young family.
It will provide peace of mind that with all the other decisions and tasks at hand, there will at least be the financial means for the day to day responsibilities.
There are so many affordable options for life insurance for the family.
There is certainly one that will be right for you.
The Little Details
In addition to the big projects, like the will and life insurance, there are a few little details that are also very important.
Keep a folder where all of these important documents are organized.
Make sure someone in your family knows exactly where it is.
It is also a good idea for the executor to know its location.
It is also a good idea to keep a listing of all your passwords in one secure location.
There are so many passwords needed for almost all online transactions and social media accounts.
It can be frustrating and very time consuming to try and figure all of these out, especially when dealing with grief.
This is why it’s important in planning your family legacy.
The Bottom Line
No one likes to think about death or the difficult details that follow, but being prepared is a gift to your family.
Having a will and leaving instructions will go a long way in establishing a family legacy that leaves them cared for and feeling loved.