By Phil Rarick, Weston Estate Planning Attorney
You and your spouse are finally going out for the evening. The babysitter, a high school student, has arrived and you are loading the young woman with last minute instructions: time for bed, make sure the kids brush their teeth, books to read little Tommy, etc, etc. What is ironic is many such fretful parents leave more instructions for their babysitter when they are out for a brief night out than they do if they would suddenly die.
Many parents have life insurance to provide for their spouse and children. What is missing here is that life insurance without detailed instructions could mean that your son or daughter gets a windfall when they turn 18 and then proceed to blow it on a hot car and high living – your dream of them getting a quality post high school education is up in smoke.
What is needed are detailed legally binding instructions that help your children avoid the big three threats for when they turn 18 and become beneficiaries of money:
- Threat #1: They will blow it.
- Threat #2: Credit card debt or student loan debt may drain it.
- Threat #3: They get married young and a spouse takes it all in a divorce
The one thing every parent should have for their children – before you buy that life insurance policy – are instructions to make sure every dime is spent in a smart way for your children – such as getting a good college or university degree. The legal term for these instructions is a living revocable trust. A good living trust will have strong protections against the three threats mentioned above. It will have robust protections against creditors and will provide a safe harbor to protect these funds if your child gets married without a prenup. (Let’s face it, most young people are not going to get a prenup for their 1st marriage – it just not the most romantic thing to do!) A living trust will name a trusted family member or friend who can manage the funds for the children until they reach an age where they have become good money managers and can prudently manage the funds in their best interests.
Take-Away Point: Do not delay – prepare a living revocable trust with detailed instructions to protect your children from the uncertainties of life.
The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced Weston estate planning attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.