ESTATE PLANNING FOR YOUNG FAMILIES WITH MINOR CHILDREN
As the parent of a young child, you must have a plan in place to protect them from an uncertain future. It’s at least as important as car seats and bike helmets! Your kid(s) aren’t old enough to take care of themselves or to manage their own money. Your children need you to plan their future, by designating the people you want to raise them and provide for them financially, until they are grown and on their own.
However, life doesn’t have a set timeline. You may not know exactly what to do or where to get started with your planning. With no formal plan in place, you will get stuck with the default plan (courtesy of the South Carolina Probate Code) if something unexpected happens to you. The default plan can never take into account your unique family situation or reflect your own wishes for your children and assets. Simply put, a judge will decide what happens. A judge, who knows nothing about you, your wishes or your family.
At Holmes Family Law, we will help you get clarity about where things stand right now for you and your family and help you understand the consequences of not having a comprehensive Estate Plan to protect your loved ones.
Before meeting, we’ll ask you to complete a Family Wealth Worksheet, which will help you get clear about everything that you own and the decisions you’ll make for the well-being and care of your loved ones and cherished belongings.
We will then meet for a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we spend time getting to know you and your family, and what is most important to you. You’ll learn about our Planning for Life process and we will both decide if it makes sense to work together.
Having a will simply is not enough. It doesn’t guarantee the care of your children if the unthinkable happens!
Your estate plan must safeguard your children, who are counting on you to ensure that they will always be taken care of by the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what happens.
At Holmes Family Law, we care deeply about planning for the well-being and care of the children you love. It is at the heart of everything we do.
In doing so, we have developed a reputation for comprehensive planning for the care of your children in the event of the death of one or both parents. Without this comprehensive legal planning, unthinkable events can (and do) take place:
We are parents and these occurrences scare us, too! With comprehensive legal planning, these problems and more can be avoided. That is why we offer a Kids Protection Plan® to every family we engage that has minor children.
Our Kids Protection Plan® includes a specific set of legal documents, caregiver instructions, and even an ID card for your wallet. If you are in an accident, your Kids Protection Plan® will help to make sure your children are never taken into the custody of strangers or anyone else you would not want. These clear instructions inform the Police and ensure your children will always be in the care of people you, and they, know and trust.
The majority of “traditional” estate planning attorneys do not address these issues. They do not plan from a parent’s perspective and they do not have the training and practice required expertise to fill all of the gaps that exist in traditional estate plans.
To get started with your Kids Protection Plan®, please call us at (843) 593-8183 or contact us here today.
Estate planning for a family with special needs children comes with a complex set of financial, social, and medical issues that some lawyers are ill-equipped to handle. But at Holmes Family Law, we are dedicated to ensuring your child with special needs will be well taken care of when you’re no longer able to serve as the primary caregiver.
We offer a variety of estate planning tools and strategies designed to accommodate the unique circumstances presented by children with special needs and their families in the state of South Carolina. We can help you pass on the financial assets needed for your child to live a rich quality of life without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits.
We’ll also assist you in finding and appointing a trusted guardian and/or trustee to look after them in the event of your death or incapacity. And we’ll help with locating the best residential opportunities—as well as the means to pay for them.
One “Catch-22-like” situation surrounding estate planning for those with special needs is leaving enough money to pay for the massive amount of care and supports these individuals typically need throughout their lifetimes. Yet, if parents leave a large lump sum of money directly to a child with special needs, they risk disqualifying him or her for government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Social Security Income.
Fortunately, the government allows assets to be held in what’s known as a “special needs trust” to provide supplemental financial resources for the physically, mentally, or developmentally disabled child without affecting their eligibility for public healthcare and income assistance benefits. That said, the rules for such trusts are quite complicated.
For instance, funds from a special needs trust cannot be distributed directly to the disabled beneficiary and must be disbursed to a third-party who’s responsible for providing the goods and services they need to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. What’s more, the requirements for a child with special needs change dramatically over time, as do the laws governing public benefits.
Given this, it’s vital to work with a special needs attorney who can create a comprehensive special needs trust that’s both properly structured and appropriate for your child’s specific situation.
At Holmes Family Law, we do not offer a “one size fits all” estate plan. We form a working relationship with our clients. We educate you, and more importantly, we take the time to get to know you and your family. We will discuss your concerns and your goals, and we will gladly and patiently answer all your questions. Our goal is to create an estate plan that is exactly right for you.
Our services include a three-year review to ensure that as your lives change, your plan will too. Don’t wait! We are happy to get you started with your estate planning. Please call our office at (843) 593-8183 or contact us here to schedule a planning session today.