How Can I Protect My Children If I Die?
Hi. This is Marc Herbert from Herbert Law Office with the Question of the week, which is, How can I protect my children under 18 years old? Well, there’s really two parts to this problem. You want to protect your children physically and emotionally, of course. And you also want to protect them financially. And so both parts of the problem can be solved through what we’ve developed and I call the Kids Protection program.
So always remember, if you don’t create a plan of your own. California will provide you with a plan of its own, sort of a default plan, and that’s called probate court. So that’s where you spend a lot of money and you spend a lot of time and you spend a lot of stress. To have a judge who never met you make these really important decisions for your family. Now, my wife and I, we’ve raised three kids, so I understand it takes a lot of effort to raise good kids these days. So when it comes to physical and emotional protection, any child under 18 years old needs a trusted guardian who’s going to take care of their not just physical and emotional needs, but their spiritual needs, academic needs.
You know, if they have a particular talent, musically or athletically, that you want to encourage. All of those things need to be included in your plan, especially if you’re a single parent. Now, by creating a will, you choose the Guardian and you choose to promote your values and your goals for your young children. Now, the alternative is if you don’t have a will naming a guardian that someone not under your control files a petition for guardianship in probate court, and then when they get custody of your child, they’re not really monitored very closely sometimes. And they have access to your children and can sort of pursue their own goals, which may not always be your goals for your children. So it takes a lot more than, you know, putting food on the table to take care of kids. You also want to make sure that they’re finances are protected, and that’s usually done through a living trust.
Now, under California law, young heirs are entitled to receive 100% of their inheritance the day they turn 18, and they’ll receive that with no guidance, no tax protections. So by creating a trust, you control the amounts that your young children receive and you control the ages at which they receive it. So California’s plan is 100% at 18. Your plan might be 25% at 18, 25% at 21, and the balance at 25 years old that say more than that. You get to name the successor trustee, a person you trust to enforce your directions for giving this inheritance to your kids. Again, the alternative is to go to court where you have those costs and delays and stress. And then again, as soon as they turn 18, the judge is going to order the custodian of those assets to release them to the child, whether they’re ready for it or not.
Now, to anticipate a second follow up question. Yes. The same person can be the Guardian taking care of their physical daily needs, as well as the successor trustee, taking care of their long term financial needs. And sometimes it’s the same person. You know, some people are good at nurturing. Some people are good with money. Some people are good with both. Some people are good with neither. So you decide who’s best And if it’s the same person, that’s okay, too. But you have to get it in writing. You have to name a guardian in your will. You have to name a successor trustee in your trust by creating your own plan. You decide who’s in charge and what exactly they can do with your children and with the assets designated for those children.
So if you have any further questions or you want to talk about kids protection plan in more detail, just give us a call for your free appointment by calling 6612739007. Talk to yourself.