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Why all parents need a will

According to a recent study, only 36 percent of Gen X parents with minor children have an estate plan. That means 64 percent of parents between the ages of 37 and 52 are leaving their children’s care up to intestate law if tragedy strikes.

All parents with children should have a will. Here are a few reasons why.

Guardianship of your children

For parents with minor children, establishing a guardian for your child is paramount. Guardianship of your children will likely go to your spouse if something should happen to you, but things can get complicated if your spouse is a step-parent or both you and your spouse get into an accident.

Ensure your children are left with a competent parent who can provide for their emotional, medical and financial needs.

Providing for your children’s finances

Many parents with young children choose to put money into a trust upon their death. This way, children will receive smaller amounts over extended periods of time, instead of receiving all of their parent’s assets at once when they turn 18.

Depending on your finances and insurance, a lawyer can help you establish the best practices to ensure that your child is cared for as a minor in educational pursuits and beyond.

Retaining tradition

Some families carry customs of passing down heirlooms. If the first-born of several lines in your family received a special object, you can specify that this tradition is upheld in your will.

Minimizing family squabbles

Without a will, it’s up to state law and your family to discern how your home and other assets are handled, who takes responsibility for your children, who manages your estate and more. When family members disagree, conflict can spur. Parents can help make matters easier on their children by setting up a will that keeps the family together.

Establishing your will

If the time has gotten away from you since you’ve had your kids, it’s time to get these matters sorted now. Talk to an estate planning attorney to develop a plan that ensures your children’s security.

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