You need a will when you have young children and there are two main reasons why; to name a guardian for your children and for their financial protection.
First is if both parents pass away, you need somebody to be the guardian of the kids, and the choices are; do you want to make the choice, or do you want the court to make the choice for you? Best case scenario is you take the time, you write a will, and you choose the guardians you want for your kids.
The second important reason is financial protection. If both parents pass away, the child is now going to be getting all the assets from the parents. Before they become an adult up to the age of 18, it will be in a conservatorship through the court, and it will be controlled so they can’t obviously blow it, and they’ll have guardians. But at the same time, you have to worry about two things. What happens when they turn 18? Are they going to go out and buy a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, and a Corvette, and now they have no money left, and everything gets taken back, and everything you worked hard for is gone? The other thing you need to worry about is what happens when perhaps the guardian is mismanaging the? The court does have oversight over that and would protect a bit, but there is the chance of that happening.
What you could do is, with that will, you could make a testamentary trust in the will that protects the child, and potentially takes maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars of insurance money and spreads it out over several age milestones, maybe a little bit when they turn 18, a little bit when they turn 25, a little bit when they turn 30, and maybe the rest of the 35, or something like that.
But the most important reasons to have a will with young children are if both parents pass away, you want to pick the guardian, and you want to have some financial protection for them.
If this is something you want to talk more about, or something you know somebody who needs talking more about, share this with them. If you would like to talk about this more, you can schedule a time to meet or talk on the phone with the below link or call and schedule a time.
William C. Deveneau is an attorney practicing in Southern Vermont, including Bennington and Manchester, and New York, including Albany, Colonie, Hoosick Falls, and Troy.