Planning for Minor Children
There is no question. Regardless of your age (once you’re 18) you need to have incapacity documents in place. No one wants to think about becoming incapacitated, especially someone in their 20’s. For those with young children, this thought can be debilitating. Trust us, we’ve had clients break into tears at the mere mention of setting up guardianship for a minor child. We are not suggesting this situation should be taken lightly- just the opposite actually. Hopefully, the need never arises in your life and you and your children live long, healthy, happy lives! But life has a way of interrupting the plans we make, and here it’s better to have a plan and not need it, than to need one and not have one.
In Florida you do not need to have a Will or Trust established to set up guardianship for your minor children. In fact, while you are certainly allowed to include the information in your estate documents, we recommend using a separate document, directed by state statute. This is partly because Florida requires you to record your document nominating a Guardian. Having a separate writing, a document only addressing this issue instead of including a section in your Will, ultimately makes life easier because any time you change or update your Will, you will have to ensure a new copy would have to be recorded so that the Guardian section is kept up to date. By having the separate writing, you would only have to update what was previously recorded if the person(s) nominated were to change.
So, now that we’ve convinced you this is something that you need to do, all you need to do is come up with a name or two, right? Well, that is an option. You could name one person to oversee the health and wellbeing of the child, as well as manage the child’s assets. Another option is to name someone to oversee the health and wellbeing of the child (think, everyday normal activities) and then name someone else to manage the assets of the child. There are advantages and disadvantages to this separated design, but we will discuss the details of your family and their unique needs when we meet.
Until then, feel free to read over some of the articles we’ve written about what to consider when choosing a guardian in our blog!