There’s a way to provide: it’s a will. ---- By: Stella Knight

You’ve probably heard the saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Well, that couldn’t be more
true than when it comes to estate planning. In my previous articles, I’ve discussed the importance
of estate planning, how to get started with your estate plan, and life changes that would cause you to
review your estate plan. This article in particular deals with why parents need estate planning.
Congratulations! You are a parent. Whether you are expecting your first child or already
have four children, now is the time to get a will. A will is a legal instrument that allows a person to
decide what happens to his property at the time of his death.
Imagine for a moment that your spouse dies without a will, leaving you to raise two small
children with only your salary and the proceeds of an inadequate life insurance policy. Your spouse
owned the house before you got married. So what happens? In North Carolina, the surviving spouse
and the children each own one-third of the real property. Can you sell the house and move closer to
your family? Can you use the insurance money to buy your son a new car when he turns 16? Good
questions – the answers depend upon your particular situation.
What if something were to happen to both of you? Who would raise your children? Who
would manage the money for your children? Couples with young children who fail to make an estate
plan have chosen to have a court decide who will raise their children. When you have not made an
estate plan, North Carolina law provides one for you.
Often, parents of young children will establish a trust under their will which takes effect
only if both parents are not living. The purpose of this trust is to have the couple’s assets held in
trust for their minor children until the children are old enough to manage the money for themselves.
The eventual distribution of principal from this trust can be made immediately available upon the
children obtaining the age of majority (18), or principal can be gradually distributed over a period of
years, such as 1/3 at age 25, 1/3 at age 30 and the remaining balance at age 35.
Many people fail to make an estate plan because they don’t want to discuss death, but you
need to initiate the discussion. Generally, you should discuss things like who is going to act as
executor of the estate, whom you would select as guardian for your children, and what the financial
arrangements for the children’s care would be.
There are plenty of helpful resources available to get you started. Don’t procrastinate. These
are important choices and your family will have to live with them.
For suggestions on how to get started with creating an estate plan visit my website, www.stellaknightlaw.com.

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There’s a way to provide: it’s a will. ---- By: Stella Knight There’s a way to provide: it’s a will. ---- By: Stella Knight Reviewed by kensunm on 9:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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