This Guest Post Written by Darlynn Morgan
of Morgan Law Group
Orange County Trust and Estate Planning Attorney
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “What would happen to my minor kids if something happened to me and/or my spouse?”
It’s something I’ve talked about many times on this blog, but let’s be frank; most parents have a hard time imagining a scenario when they may unable to raise their own children, whether it’s due to a disability, sickness, incapacity… or worse.
As parents, we certainly have superpowers… but we’re not invincible.
A friend of mine recently made this same mistake. Just a few weeks before her death last month, a loved one was urging her to get serious about creating a will and a trust for the protection of her kids and assets. Her response?
She told the friend, “I have some time to worry about all of that. I’m not even sure where to start. I’m too unorganized right now and just not ready yet.”
A few weeks later, she was unexpectedly killed in a car accident. She left behind a new spouse she married just six months prior and four children, one with autism and a host of other developmental delays.
Mom had no will or trust, and haphazardly named her two older boys as beneficiaries of her life insurance policy. She didn’t want to leave anything to her disabled son (out of fear it will jeopardize his ability to receive Medicaid and other benefits) and she hoped that they would all just evenly split their inheritance if something happened to her.
But now, the middle son is being stingy with the money. He’s into fast things and shiny objects. Family members worry that he will spend all of his brother’s money on cars, trips and parties. And legally, he doesn’t have to fork over a penny. A special needs trust, and a revocable trust for the other kids, would have made this a non-issue!
Oh, and new husband? Although he was the love of her life, mom never got around to updating her beneficiary designations to also include new hubby on her life insurance policy and retirement accounts should something happen to her.
He got stuck with all of the funeral costs and debt, but her kids from a previous marriage got everything else. He was completely disinherited and out of luck, all because of a blended family situation.
Here’s the lesson to be learned from this sad, but very true story: just because you talk about your wishes for your kids and your assets, doesn’t mean your family will honor them when you are gone!
When you leave behind assets, minor children, or you’re in a blended family, you MUST have a will or trust to ensure that your family is cared for exactly as you want if the unthinkable happens. When grief, emotions and money are involved, the honor system just doesn’t work!
So if you’ve been putting of your estate planning for any reason, please let this story inspire you to do the right thing for your family and those you would leave behind.
Here’s How To Take Action NOW, While It’s Fresh In Your Mind
Look, it’s vacation season. Chances are you’ll be traveling this spring or summer, either with or without the kids. Now is the perfect time to think about estate planning for your own family to ensure you are protected, should something happen. Don’t put planning off for another month or year…make it your priority today!
To help you get the ball rolling, I’d like to invite you to join me for a FREE Kids Protection Workshop this month where you’ll learn step-by-step how to put a fortress of protection around the things and people you love:
April 23, 2015 – 6:30pm
No childcare available for this event – recommended for adults only
Once Upon a Storybook
April 25 – 11:00 am
Children Welcome! Bring the kids while you learn!
This is the perfect opportunity to learn EXACTLY how to get your legal and financial affairs in order, at no-charge! Children are even welcome at our Once Upon a Storybook event so that they can have fun with adult supervision while you are in the same room, learning everything you need to know about estate planning and protecting the people you love. What could be better or easier than that?
Here’s just a taste of what you’ll discover at our Workshops:
1. How to choose the RIGHT Guardians for your kids
2. How to keep your family out of probate (which is long, expensive, public and does not pass your assets in a responsible way!)
3. How to prevent a court from having to supervise your children’s inheritance and handing them money at 18!
4. How to leave your loved ones a gift far greater than all the money in the world if the unthinkable happens
5. Why naming guardians is just not enough to keep your children from spending time in foster care
It’s just one hour of your time and one of the best investments you’ll make into the protection and well-being of your family. Plus, our workshops are engaging, empowering and fun! If you have minor kids, you won’t want to miss it! To view all of the details and register now for FREE, simply visit www.KidsProtectionWorkshop.com.
Don’t forget about your friends and loved ones…they have families they need to protect, too! Share this information and help them out.