The COVID-19 crisis is impacting people of all ages. Jeremiah Amos, an associate attorney at Debra Robinson Law Group, has an important message to share about the necessity of estate planning for younger generations.
Many of my friends are getting married and starting families of their own, yet when I discuss my work as an estate planning attorney, the immediate response is “I should give your business card to my parents!” However, as Millennials settle down, we need to begin planning for our futures to protect our families through life’s changes.
The Last Will and Testament is the first document most people think of when they think of estate planning – it directs what happens to your estate after your death. Without a Will, the entire process is left up to the court. In Georgia, for a married couple with children, if a spouse dies without a Will, the estate is divided among the surviving spouse and children.
A minor child cannot legally own any property that he or she inherits. Without a good plan in place, a court would appoint someone to manage the assets. The person appointed is supervised by the court and must abide by strict rules. Once the child is 18, all of the assets must be distributed to the child, regardless of his or her ability to manage those assets. If the child’s parent had a properly drafted Will, the assets could have been left to the child in a trust. The Will would dictate terms ofthe trust, who would be in control of the assets, and how and when those assets may be used.
If both parents pass away, someone needs to care for minor children. The best way to ensure that the Court appoints the person of your choosing to fulfill this role is to name a guardian in your Will. Without any indication, the Court is left to appoint a guardian on its own. This uncertainty can result in legal conflicts between family members over who is best suited to care for minor children.
Millennials, we need to think of estate planning not only for our parents, but also for our own families. Making these decisions now protects your family, provides for their future, and alleviates unnecessary chaos and confusion during an extremely difficult time.