When parents of young children in Brooklyn, Oklahoma create an estate plan, their plans have to address issues that people who do not have children don’t have to consider. Estate planning is all about making decisions, and doing so in a way that will be legally enforceable when the time comes. When you are a parent who cares for young children you have to be sure that the plans you make protect those children to the best of your abilities. Here is what you should know about children in your Oklahoma estate plan.
Creating an Estate Plan for Children
Some parents who talk to us about their children and their estate plans want to know if they need to have their children make a plan, or if they can make a plan on their child’s behalf. There are two important issues here.
First, there’s the question of who can make an estate plan. For example, can a child make a last will and testament? In general, only a competent adult can make an estate plan, meaning that children are unable to make plans of their own.
Second, there’s the question of whether you can make an estate plan on a child’s behalf. Can you, as a parent, write a will on behalf of your child? Again, only a competent adult can make an estate plan, and can only make a plan that addresses his or her own estate planning choices. You cannot make a plan for a child, or make a plan on another person’s behalf.
Protecting your Children in Your Estate Plan
So, if you cannot create an estate plan on behalf of a child, and your child cannot make a plan, what can you do? The answer lies in the choices you can make through your own plan.
For example, as a parent, you have the right to nominate someone who will serve as your child’s guardian should you die or become incapacitated. Though a court will have to approve your nomination, your chosen guardian will usually receive the legal authority to care for your children after your death unless the guardian is unwilling or unable to do so.
Further, your estate plan will have to address what you want to happen to any inheritances your children might receive if they are not old enough when you die. Children cannot receive or own inheritances directly, so our estate plan will have to provide alternate methods. For example, you could create a testamentary trust that manages the inheritances until the children are old enough. You can also use a trust to distribute the inheritances over a longer period of time.
Parman & Easterday