Tips for Protecting Your Children with a Carefully Crafted Will

DuPage County wills and trusts attorneysNo parent wants to think about dying before their children reach adulthood. Sadly, it does happen, and often before the parents have had the chance to create a will. This can leave children in limbo, create problems for their financial future, and ultimately impact their quality of life. Know how to protect your child with a carefully crafted will.

Designate First Responders

While most parents know who they would want to serve as a long-term guardian for their children, and may have even already discussed the idea with the selected person, many fail to consider what will happen in the minutes, hours, and days immediately after their death. For example, consider the following scenario: You are on your way to pick up your children from school but are killed in an accident. What happens next? Who will pick up your children and ensure they are cared for?

Without proper planning, the reality is that Child Protective Services will have to step in. This means that your child will be sent to a foster home until someone is able to take custody of them, or until the courts decide who should be their legal guardian. Avoid this by choosing a first responder. Talk to them, let them know how important their role is, and give them clear, concise guidelines on how to proceed.

Choose a Long-Term Care Guardian

In some cases, the long-term care guardian is the same person as the emergency responder. However, this is not always the case. Long-term guardians do not always live close enough to be first responders, and not all first responders wish to serve as long-term guardians. In these situations, it is critical that you also choose a long-term care guardian for your child. Discuss the matter with each prospect and always have a back-up. Most of all, get it down in a legal document.

Providing for Your Children After Death

If you have taken the steps to execute a will, hopefully you have also found ways to ensure your children are provided for, in the event of your death. It could be an already established estate, assets you currently own, or it could be through a life insurance policy. Whatever the case, ensure you carefully plan out how and when this money will be used. Think as far ahead as you can – college, emergency situations, braces – and outline the details in your will.

Our DuPage County Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help

When you are creating a will to protect the future of your children, there are a lot of factors and aspects to consider. Our experienced DuPage County estate planning attorneys can help. Known for crafting creative solutions, and for providing all of our clients with a personalized experience, we will sit down with you, one-on-one, and ensure that your wishes are clearly and concisely outlined in your will. For more information, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield and McGrath LLC and schedule a consultation. Call 630-665-2500 today.



Choosing a Legal Guardian: One of the Most Important Decisions a Parent Makes

choosing a legal guardian, DuPage County Estate Planning AttorneyMaking legal plans to ensure that your family is taken care of in the event of your death is not an easy subject to consider. It can be even more difficult for those who are parents of young children.

Although none of us want to think that we will not live long enough to see our children grow up into adulthood and have children of their own, the sad fact is that many parents pass away when their children are still minors. Therefore, it is important to have these plans in place, including who would be the legal guardian to your child in the event both of his or her parents die. If you do not make the decision while you are still alive, the state will make that decision when you are gone.

Often, when parents are having the discussion over who should be the legal guardian of their child, they disagree. The father may want a relative from his side of the family, while the mother may think one of her relatives would be the best choice. However, there are certain questions that parents can ask themselves as they make their list of the pluses and minuses for each of their choices.

One of the first questions to look at is just how close is your child to the person you want to be his or her guardian. Is your child comfortable with this person and do they have history together? The closer the person you are considering is to your child, the easier a difficult transition will be.

Another item to look at is whether or not the person you are considering shares the same values that you do. Will this person raise your child in the same environment—morally, religiously, politically—that you would have provided if you were still alive?

If the potential guardian has children of his or her own, you will also want to look at his or her parenting style and whether or not it is like your own. Do you feel he or she is overly strict, or maybe he or she is overly permissive with their child? How involved is he or she in their own child's life and will there be room for your own child in their home?

The age of the potential guardian also is something that needs to be considered, as well as their health. This is especially true if you are considering your parents as the guardian. Raising a child is a lot of work and demands a lot of time. Is your parent up to it? Additionally, if there are health issues, what will happen to your child if your parent dies or becomes incapacitated?

Where the potential guardian lives is also something to weigh. Does he or she live in the same town or will your child be required to move away from his or her home, friends, school, and other activities? This may not matter as much with younger children, but can be devastating to a teenager, especially one who is also dealing with the loss of his or her parent or parents.

Choosing a guardian is difficult, but the decision can be made easier with the help of an experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney, who can help guide you through the legal process of deciding and preparing the legal documents necessary. Call Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC at 630-665-2500 to schedule your consultation today.


Illinois Estate Planning: Reasons Not to Procrastinate

Illinois estate planning, Illinois Estate Planning LawyerMany of us are familiar with the Benjamin Franklin quote, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Yet those two topics—death and taxes—are not ones people generally like to think about. This could be why more than half of us do not have even the most basic of estate planning documents in place. In fact, according to financial planners, there may be several reasons why people put off and delay planning for what truly is the inevitable.

Not Enough Time

Many people say they do not have the time for estate planning, claiming they are just too busy. However, legal advisors and financial planners stress that this is one area that should be a priority and everyone needs to make the time. It is important to figure out who should receive what items of your estate in order to avoid possible fighting among family members when you are gone.

We have all heard stories—or maybe even experienced it in our own families—of how siblings and other relatives can turn on each other over money or other assets. Putting in writing who your beneficiaries are, who the executor of your estate should be, and what your other wishes are can help avoid a family feud.

Difficult to Consider

Another reason people may put off estate planning is because they do not want to think about dying and no longer being here with their loved ones. However, it is much better to address these issues when you are healthy instead of waiting until it is too late. If you have minor children, it is especially important to have a legal document that states who should raise your children should something happen to you. If you do not, then the courts will decide and your child or children could end up with a relative or in a situation that you would not approve of if you were here. Having everything legally in place also ensures that your family will not have to deal with these things when they are struggling with grief over their loss.

Misconceptions and Confusion 

One misconception about estate planning is that it is just for people who are financially well-off. But, this is not true. As mentioned above, if you have minor children, it is critical to have plans in place. There is no financial worth minimum when it comes to having an "estate." If you own anything, it is your estate. This can include a car, a home, furniture, online libraries, and tools—anything that is of any value.

Finally, a common reason for avoiding estate planning is that many people do not really understand what estate planning involves. Although it can be overwhelming to think about, consulting with an experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney who can explain and advise you on the best course of action for you to take can help alleviate the confusion over all the legalities involved in the estate planning process. Call 630-665-2500 today.