Estate Planning in AZ for Married Couples with Children

As couples begin to have children, it becomes increasingly important for them to have an Arizona estate plan in place. However, just because children are involved, this does not mean there is a uniform approach to estate planning. Rather, in addition to considering their children’s needs, couples must also consider their position in life, as well as their financial circumstances, when developing a suitable estate plan. Ultimately, couples with children must consider many of the issues that those without children consider, but with the added concern of their children’s well-being.

For young parents, there is always the question of who will take care of the children if both parents pass away. Parents who fail to plan leave this important decision up to the court, and it is not safe to assume the court will make the best decision. To prevent this from happening, parents need to thoughtfully consider who could step in as their children’s personal guardian in the event that they both pass away. This is a difficult decision, and parents should weigh factors such as financial means, trustworthiness, time restraints and willingness to assume this important responsibility. In addition to a personal guardian, parents should also appoint a property guardian or conservator, who can either be the same person or somebody different than the personal guardian, to manage finances and assets for minor children. The drawback to using property guardians, however, is that parents have very little control over how the children will one day receive assets. As such, many parents prefer to establish a trust that will provide for the children according to their wishes. Parents have many options with trusts, and they typically specify certain purposes for which trust funds may be used and the ages at which children may receive trust funds. All of these decisions are best made under the advisement of an Arizona estate planning attorney.

Estate planning needs changes for older married couples with grown children, as they no longer have to consider issues such as who will step in as their children’s guardian. But, this does not mean that estate planning for this group will not involve consideration of their children’s needs. The issue of how much, if any, inheritance to leave each child remains, and it can be a difficult decision for many parents to make. Parents should know going into this that they are not required to leave their children any inheritance at all, nor are they required to leave their multiple children inheritances in equal shares. Rather, parents can do with their estate as they wish, whether that be dividing it equally among their children, giving it all to charity, or placing it in a trust for future generations. Here again, a Phoenix, Arizona estate planning attorney is best equipped to discuss all of the options and provide insight as to which course of action best suits the particular circumstances. We serve all of Arizona including Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Stafford.

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