Parents Need A Last Will And Testament
Have you ever wondered what happens to a minor child when his or her parents die? Good Parenting requires that Parents have a Last Will And Testament. More informative articles, ebooks, and forms on Making A Will, Last Will, and Last Will And Testament are linked to www.LastWillAndTestamentSite.com.
Parents, What Happens To Your Children Upon Your Death? Part 2
In Part 1, we talked about who will have custody of your children and raise them if something fatal occurred to you. Here, in Part 2, we look at what happens to the property that is supposed to go to your children. As you will see, good parenting requires that Parents each have a Last Will And Testament.
First, what property are we talking about? It can be your home, your personal property, cars, bank accounts, insurance proceeds, etc. Basically, the property is anything you own at the time of your death and that is supposed to go to your children.
If your children are eighteen (18) years old, or older than the age stated in a trust set up in your Last Will And Testament, property will pass directly to your children.
However, if your children are not eighteen (18) years old, or older than the age stated in a trust set up in your Last Will And Testament, then someone else will have to hold the property for your children.
Without your having a Last Will And Testament and something fatal occurs to you, state laws will govern what happens to property that is to go to your children. Generally, if your children are eighteen or older, they get the property. However, if they are under eighteen, then a Court will have to appoint someone to hold and manage the property. As with determining custody of minor children, a Court will look at state law to see who has priority. Usually, the person appointed is a family member, but the person may not be a family member. A Court may decide that someone other than a family member is best to handle your children's property. Also, state laws require that the person appointed must file annually with the Court an accounting of the property and any income derived from the property. State laws vary on what the appointee can do with the property. In some cases, the appointee may be able to sell the property, while in other cases, the appointee may need to obtain Court approval before any sale.
When you have a Last Will And Testament and you die, a Court will look to your Last Will for guidance. If you have not set up a trust in your Last Will, the Court will follow the same procedures as if you did not have a Last Will And Testament. If you did set up a trust, then the Court will try to enforce your wishes. The Court will normally recognize and appoint as trustee the person whom you named in your Last Will and the trustee will have the power and authority that you gave the trustee in your Last Will.
If you have children and are making your Last Will, you really need to include a trust for any property that may go to your children. You should decide:
- The age at which the children will receive the property;
- How the property can be used, for example, for the care, education, and maintenance of your children;
- Who will be the trustee, or the person who will manage and carry out the terms of your trust;
- What powers that the trustee will have; and
- Whether or not the trustee will be required to post a bond.
Most standard Last Will And Testaments for parents with minor children include a simple trust providing that the property will be turned over to the children at age eighteen (18), that the property can be used for the children's care, education, and maintenance, name a trustee, and limit the trustee's powers to the powers given a trustee by state laws. Remember that it is your Last Will And Testament and you can change the trust provisions as you like. You can change eighteen (18) to twenty-one (21), or you can say that the property is to be used only for education purposes and not care and maintenance.
The important point is that if you trust one or more persons to handle your children's property, but do not trust others, then make a Last Will And Testament and name a trustee.
Here is a word of caution about Last Will And Testaments, state laws may change your wishes expressed in your Last Will And Testament. Click here for more will info on what a Last Will And Testament does and doesn't do.
The above information is general information only. For specific questions or clarification, contact a lawyer licensed in your state.
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