3rd Sep 2010
If you have minor children, you should have a will prepared and executed in which you nominate the guardians for the children in the event of your death.
Even if the size of your estate justifies the use of living trust (family trust), a will is essential for the nomination of guardians. (You may not nominate guardians in the living trust itself – only in a will.)
When choosing a guardian, you will want to nominate someone who is capable of raising minor children. For example, your 88 year old aunt, is probably not a good choice. You should also choose a guardian who has similar moral, ethical, and life style qualities as close to your own as possible. But remember, no one is exactly like you, so your choice of guardian will be the best choice, not the perfect choice.
You may also consider transferring assets to a custodian account under the California Uniform Transfers to Minors Act to be held for the child until he or she reaches age 18, 21 or 25.
Another option is to create a trust to be held, administered and distributed for the child’s benefit until the child is even older. Trusts may be set up now when you are alive, or the will could require the creation of a testamentary trust to be set up by the court during the probate process.
The best approach is to talk to a qualified estate planning attorney and develop a comprehensive estate plan for not only the guardianship of the minor children, but also include the management and distribution of the assets, property, and money in the estate.
For more information please visit my website at:
DWIGHT EDWARD TOMPKINS
Estate Planning Attorney
This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney in your jurisdiction.