As we have noted in past select blog posts, families are figuratively all over the map when it comes to estate planning.
Some families proactively turn to the task at a relatively early juncture, making best efforts to craft well-tailored plans that can be periodically revisited for adjustment. Others, conversely, don’t even think about such things.
And then there are those who vacillate on such matters. Many individuals and families do indeed think about important things like asset preservation, wealth transfer, taking care of elderly family members and loved ones with special needs, and so forth. but they just don’t create a legal plan to promote their goals.
Unsurprisingly, it is often a young married couple with kids that procrastinates on estate planning matters. Many such couples engage in start-stop discussions, but don’t forge ahead to the completion of legal documents that fully state their intent and protect their families.
Of course, youth plays a role in that. Young people often see themselves as bulletproof. That is, they are strong, optimistic, full of certainty regarding the future, and unhurried. Life stretches in front of them. There is always time later to attend to estate planning considerations.
Such thinking, though understandable, is fallacious, especially where a couple with young children is concerned. Every day in Southern California and across the county, issues suddenly crop up regarding unanticipated issues relating to the needs of children whose parents are no longer able to provide for them and who did not implement a plan outlining their desires in that regard.
We note on our estate planning website at the Orange County Newman Law Group that, in the event parents do not execute a will naming a guardian to care for their children if that becomes necessary, a California judge will take matters into his or her own hands. In doing so, the court will “simply make a decision based on state law.”
That decision might not align with what parents would have wanted. Moreover, and despite a judge’s good-faith efforts to get things right, it might not be in the best interests of children who, are after, complete strangers to the court.
Young parents with kids might reasonably want to timely consult with a proven estate administration attorney to discuss a planning strategy that can promote peace of mind by ensuring that important family goals are advanced.
Our attorneys stand ready to help.