Sitting down and talking about an estate plan with a lawyer is important, especially if children are involved. An estate can consist of many different elements, including homes, possessions, and financial securities, including bank accounts. After a parent has a better sense of how much their estate is worth, they can begin to think about how to divide everything among their children.
For some people, the idea of dividing their estate equally between all of their children makes sense. For example, if they have four children, they give each child 25 percent of whatever the estate is worth. However, not all parents see their children in an equal light, and some may have more needs than others. It can be very challenging for parents to admit that one child may not need as much of an estate as another child, but not every child is responsible. Another factor is if a child is disabled.
Parents of children with disabilities should consider talking with a lawyer. If they bequeath too much of their estate to the disabled child, the child might not be eligible for other assistance through the government. In some cases, assets for children with disabilities can be placed into trust funds. Trust funds allow the child to receive a certain amount of funds on a regular basis for a number of years or throughout a lifetime, depending on the circumstances.
Does the Presence of a Living Spouse Matter?
In some situations, people who are married may opt to give everything to the surviving spouse. This can be a good decision if the spouse is responsible and will need all the finances. For instance, a surviving spouse who stayed home to raise the children may be without any kind of individual retirement account (IRA) or pension. Getting everything upon the death of the spouse would help the surviving spouse continue to live comfortably.
However, a surviving spouse may not be the biological or adoptive parent of one or more of the children. In many cases, parents will divorce, and some will remarry. When a parent passes away, their current spouse might have no strong bonds with their stepchildren. Consequently, the children might feel slighted if a parent leaves the entire estate to a new spouse who is not their biological or adoptive father or mother. This is another reason to have an effective estate plan.
Delaware County Wills and Estates Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Make Estate Planning Easier for Clients
Parents may not know how to divide their estate among their children, but a lawyer can advise them. If you have children and need help with your estate plan, speak to one of our Delaware County wills and estates lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. today. Contact us online or call us at 610-565-3701 for an initial consultation. We are located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, and we assist clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.