While death is never a particularly easy subject to read about, it is important to think about what happens to your kids after you die. In this article, we’ll be exploring the best ways you can support your kids after you pass…
Whether you’re a new parent or your kids are all grown up, it’s important to consider things such as writing a will and appointing a guardian in advance. Doing these things may be the last thing on your mind if you’re still young, however, it’s a good way of ensuring your kids will always be supported.
When a will has not been drawn out efficiently, it may be difficult to interpret and, therefore, the validity could be questioned. In some cases, this could lead to family members contesting probate, as well as causing them additional grief and uncertainty during a difficult time.
So, to best support your kids after you pass, and to ensure they avoid any further suffering, it’s important to plan out an effective will as soon as possible. Below, we’ll explain in more detail why it is important to plan ahead and write a will, as well as some of the best things to include for your children…
Why do I Need to Write a Will?
By writing a will, you can make sure that, if you or your partner were to die, your kids will be provided for. For instance, if you and your partner passed away unexpectedly and your kids were still young, having a will in place allows you to appoint guardians of your choice.
Having a will in place also means your estate will be divided the way you wish for it to be, meaning none of your loved ones will miss out.
What Happens if I Don’t Write a Will?
Many people assume that, if you don’t write a will, your partner or kids will just automatically inherit everything. However, this is not always the case, as intestacy laws are complex and don’t always factor everything in. For example, if you were not married to your partner, they wouldn’t inherit anything and any stepchildren you have won’t receive anything either. In addition to this, your children’s guardianship may be decided by a local authority or court.
Moreover, not having a will in place means certain loved ones could miss out on inheriting parts of your estate. As a result of this, issues may arise surrounding inheritances causing additional grief and distress to family members.
Things to Consider When Writing a Will
Below we’ll give a run-through of some of the most important things to consider when writing a will…
Appointing a Guardian
In the event that you, or you and your partner, were to pass away and your kids were under the age of 18, they would need a guardian. If you don’t appoint a guardian, local authorities will automatically appoint one for you.
When choosing a guardian, you should think carefully about who you feel would be a suitable and responsible role model for your kids. You should also take into consideration who your kids enjoy spending time around and look up to.
Before deciding on a guardian, it’s important to discuss it with the person you’ve chosen before naming them. It’s also worth nominating more than one guardian in the case the first is unwilling or unable to take the role.
Start Planning Your Child’s Finances
When planning your child’s finances, you should think about the following things to help support them:
- Setting up a savings account they can access when they’re 18.
- A monthly allowance.
- Future life events your kids may need financial support for e.g. a wedding, driving lessons, and a house.
- Making arranging to cover the living costs of your children, in the event of your death.
- How much of your estate you would like your kids to inherit.
- Accounting for any stepchildren or foster children.
Deciding the Age of Inheritance
Unless the will says otherwise, your kids will automatically receive access to your estate at 18, in most cases. It is important to note that your children can still benefit from their inheritance before 18, but will not be able to manage it personally.
Usually, their assets will be held in a trust and will be managed by a trustee to benefit your child. So, for instance, your child may receive a monthly allowance, but will not be able to withdraw money without the trustee’s consent.
It is therefore important to appoint a trustee for your kids. This needs to be someone you feel is good with money and will execute your wishes for your kids. Secondly, you need to consider whether you want your kids to receive full control over their inheritance at 18, or if you would prefer them to access that money sooner.
Leaving Behind Family Heirlooms
While finances and guardianship might be at the top of your priority list, it’s also important to consider leaving behind nice things for your kids to inherit. These items might have lots of sentimental value and have been passed down through generations in your family. Or, it may just be some old family photos or hand-written letters that they can fondly remember you by.
Ready to Plan Out Your Kids’ Future?
We’re well aware that, as a parent, writing a will may not be exactly what you had in mind. However, having one in place can provide a greater sense of security for your kids if something was to happen to you, or you and your partner.
Having a will can provide you with a legal framework where you can decide who inherits what parts of your estate, a guardian for your kids, and allows you to plan their finances.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a lawyer/solicitor if you’re seeking advice on the law. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.