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Last Will and Testament Family Considerations and Estate Plans

In many situations, an estate plan does not have to be part of the last will and testament scenario. After all, not everyone has a large estate or multiple beneficiaries to think about. Personal situations vary greatly from one person to the next so the need for an estate plan will also fluctuate. However, a few critical considerations can help you to determine whether or not you should look into hiring the services of an estate planner to assist you in the creation of your last will and testament.

Itís important to realize that whether or not you have a large estate, when special family circumstances exist, it is almost always beneficial to plan ahead with a carefully thought out estate plan. This is especially true when children, divorces, remarriages, or disabled family members are involved.

The Existence of One or More Minor Children

When minor children are involved, several decisions need to be made in the event of the death of their parents. In particular, a guardian for the children until they reach adulthood needs to be selected. This information should be included within the terms of the will. Plus, a determination needs to be made as to how the childrenís needs will be financed, where they will attend school, and how their education will be paid if it requires tuition costs.

Unless you have created a plan that will determine who the guardian of your children will be, the courts will make that decision. Likewise, the court will determine the details regarding the payment of that care along with the payment of educational needs.

The Existence of Children with Special Needs

When children with special needs are involved, it is important to protect their interest in the inheritance. You need to set up safeguards through an estate plan that will prevent them from being influenced unduly by another individual who might not have their best interests in mind.

The Existence of Irresponsible Children

For those parents who have children who are exhibiting problematic behavior, it is important to set up some precautionary measures so that they do not squander all of their inheritance before they grow out of that phase in their life. Of course, they might never grow out of that stage, but at least you will have set up a few safeguards through your estate plan to prevent the worst from happening. Additionally, this scenario could take into consideration children who are going through a divorce or lawsuit.

The Existence of Disabled Family Members

Disabled individuals will be part of some families. Special precautions need to be taken to ensure that their inheritance is not eaten up entirely by their institutionalized care. Using an estate plan to set this up is the best way to go about it.

The Existence of a Blended Family

Determining who gets what when it comes to an inheritance is often a tricky process, but it becomes even more so when a blended family is involved. It is possible to accidentally set up the titles to assets so that only one spouseís children receive them. It is also quite easy to arrange the inheritance contrary to your intentions simply because the state laws regarding this type of situation are not fully understood. Hiring the services of an estate planner or attorney would be beneficial in helping you to set up an estate plan that takes into consideration all of these circumstances.

The Existence of a Divorce in the Mix

An estate plan can help you to determine that all of your assets have been properly titled to ensure that they will go to the heirs that you indicate. While it is possible that you might want your ex-spouse to inherit certain assets, you need to re-title anything that you do not wish to go to this spouse upon your death.
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Article Added on Monday, August 10, 2009
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