Clients, when they are thinking about estate planning, their focus should be less on their inheritance and more on how they can take care of their kids if they are unable to. My name is Alexandra Moreno, and I am an estateship, guardianship, and probate attorney.
Why You Need Estate Planning
I had a case of a very sweet boy. His mom passed away, but she had no estate planning. The mother didn’t know what she was doing. She put a life insurance policy in his name; she passed away, and the money had to go into a guardianship which turned into a very heated battle between the aunt and the grandmother. The aunt was appointed, but the grandmother, who was my client, knew that something was wrong. So, we kept investigating.
In short, we found out that the aunt was receiving money meant for the kid and just pocketing it. This little boy, who has millions of dollars in a bank account, is going to school with no lunch money. He’s wearing old clothes with holes in them and coming home to a nasty situation. We opened an adversary case to fight the system, and the grandmother was appointed. But at that point the money was gone. This poor boy has gone through this terrible situation. As a result, we are stuck in a guardianship. All that could have been avoided if the mom had done the proper estate planning.
What You Need to Do
First of all, you are going to want to make sure to have some sort of vehicle like a trust. Then, re-title your assets in the trust, and that way you are deciding now who you are going to have as a guardian while you are still alive. In effect, you’re taking care of your kids even though you aren’t here to actually take care of them.
I work with each client’s very specific, individual situation to make sure that all of their bases are covered. If they have children we want to make sure that they have a guardian appointed. If they have a child with special needs we want to make sure there are special needs trust provisions.
For parents who don’t want their kids receiving that much money, we can put restrictions, such as they can only use the money for education, for medical, for rent, whatever they want. Because each client is very personalized, we make sure that we are taking each individualized client’s needs into account. You can choose now what’s going to happen to your children in the future. Finally, you can decide now, even if not here, how you can take care of your kids, your grand-kids, and even generations to come. Most importantly, you don’t need a lot of money to make sure you’ve taken care of probably the most precious thing in your life, which is family.
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Coral Gables, FL 33134