Young families in Florida often do not think much about estate planning. While still in their 20s or 30s, moms and dads can assume death is far off and there is time for such things. It is also easy to get caught up in the day-to-day needs of raising children. However, tragedy could strike at any time leaving young children without parents. When this happens, who will raise the children? How will the children be financially cared for?

Livestrong explains that the answer to the first question can vary greatly based upon whether or not there is any estate plan in place. If no will or other plan exists, individuals can self-nominate to become a child’s guardian. This includes relatives and non-relatives alike. A judge will have the ultimate decision in these cases.

Even if a will does identify a guardian, a judge can override that decision if the best interests of the child are better served with another guardian. Having an alternate guardian named is always wise. Divorced parents should ensure that their wills both list the same person as the guardian for their joint children.

Regarding financial support for children after parents die, several issues should be addressed. The Program for Early Parent Support recommends that a children’s trust be created. This can then be used to care for any of the children’s financial needs including education, medical care and more. Ensuring that all life insurance or other policies with beneficiaries are updated can be another way of financially caring for young children after death.

Luis E. Barreto