Planning for Young Families
Many young couples believe that estate planning is only for “old” people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every family can benefit from having an estate plan, even young couples with minor children. Why? If something terrible happened to you and your spouse, who would care for your minor children? Without a plan, the court might choose someone you never would have wanted to raise your children. There could also be a long, stressful, and expensive custody battle between members of your extended family. At the very least, young couples with minor children should have a last will and testament that names a guardian (or guardians) for their minor children.
When your children turn 18, there are other factors to consider. If you have left your children an inheritance, will they be mature enough to manage it responsibly? Similarly, they might fall under the influence of predators looking to grab a portion, or all, of your children’s inheritance for themselves. We can utilize trusts and other planning tools to protect your children’s inheritances until they are responsible enough to manage them on their own.
The HIPAA Release
When your children turn 18, they are considered legal adults. This has important, often unforeseen, ramifications for parents. Consider the following situation. Let’s say your oldest child is attending college in another state, gets into a car accident, and is hospitalized. Upon hearing this, you immediately call the hospital for information about your child’s condition. However, if your child does not have a HIPAA release, the hospital might not tell you anything whatsoever about his or her injuries and prognosis. If they did, they could be prosecuted for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
“Traditional” estate planning law firms often fail to take matters such as these into account because they do not focus on planning for young families. We do. We can design a plan to protect your children in the event you can no longer care for them yourselves. We can also draft documents for your “adult” yet still dependent children, including a HIPAA release, powers of attorney, and advance directives. We invite you to contact us for a consultation to discuss your particular needs and goals.