Written by Rachel Schneller Ziegler
As the winter holidays approach, if you are like me, you scour the stores, catalogs, and on-line retail websites for great holiday gifts for your kids, ones that won’t end up in the bottom of the toy bin by New Year’s Eve. Although my recommendations may not result in shouts of joy, consider giving them to your children this year. These gifts will help to ensure that future holidays are bright and will give you peace of mind.
- Appoint a Guardian for Your Children. Prepare a Will in which you appoint a guardian for your children upon the death of you and your spouse. If you die and have not done so, a court will select a guardian, but may not choose the right person.
- Prepare a Revocable Living Trust. Prepare a Trust to hold, manage and use assets for the benefit of your spouse and/or children after your death. A Trust will ensure that your assets will be held and managed by a Trustee selected by you pursuant to terms set by you. It may even save estate taxes.
- Buy Life Insurance. Every parent of young children should have a life insurance policy to replace income and maintain the family’s lifestyle in the event of death. Consider that a stay-at-home mom may also need a life insurance policy to cover the costs of child care and household help.
- Save for College with a 529 Plan. A 529 plan is an investment account to fund your child’s college education. Money contributed to the plan grows tax-deferred and distributions used for your child’s college expenses are tax-free. It is a low maintenance, flexible, and valuable way to save for college.
- Ensure Access to your Electronic Accounts. If you manage finances and accounts on-line or by e-mail, make sure someone can access them after your death. This will ensure that your assets will be accessible to your spouse or child’s guardian or trustee upon your death.
Rachel Schneller Ziegler is an attorney with the Kaiser Law Group in Wellesley, Massachusetts concentrating in estate planning and estate administration. She is happy to respond to concerns or questions about your estate plan at (617) 641-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for legal counsel. Nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact an attorney for advice specific to your needs.