Estate Planning for Kids

Creating a Safety Net for When You’re Not There to Protect Them

Becoming a parent means doing everything you can to love and protect another human being. It’s evident in all the research you did when you purchased your child’s first car seat, or the precautions you took the first time he or she went swimming or rode a bicycle.

The same level of care should be taken when making your estate plan. Putting your intentions on paper will help secure a safer future for your children when you aren’t there to protect them yourself. This plan should include provisions for:

Minor children. Use your will to name a guardian for any minor children. If you are married, your spouse will likely raise your children if you pass away first, but also take into consideration what could happen when he or she passes away. You may also wish to place the assets you want your children to inherit in a trust until they are older. This prevents court battles if a judge has to name someone as their conservator.

Assets and property. Spelling out the distribution of assets to your children will ensure they receive what was intended for them. Remember, assets aren’t only items with financial value. Sentimental items—like heirlooms and family photos—can be noted and passed to your children, as well.

An executor. If your children are of legal age, you can appoint them as executors, or choose a trusted friend or family member.

Beneficiary designations. Life insurance, annuities, retirement benefits and IRAs are usually payable to a named beneficiary and do not pass under your will. Review and update these documents—adding your children’s names or a trust for their benefit—to make certain assets are left to your intended heirs.

Child Free?

Estate planning is for everyone, regardless of your marital status, income or age. If you don’t have children to plan for in your estate, consider the following questions: 

  1. How would you like your assets distributed?
  2. Who will make health and financial decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able?
  3. Who will care for you in the event of illness or disability?
  4. Are there charitable organizations you wish to support?

Make Your Plan Work for Bates, Too

When creating or updating your estate plan, consider including a gift to Bates. We would be glad to work with you on solutions that meet your giving needs. Please contact the Office of Gift Planning at (207) 786-6246 or Toll-free: (800) 762-3145 or giftplanning@bates.edu for more information on how you can get started.