Many young families in South Dakota delay estate planning. If asked, they usually say that they are too busy, too young, or simply can't afford it. Other young parents just don't like thinking about "what could happen" if they would die at a young age. However, everyone should realize that their spouse and small children are depending on them - in fact, that's the exact reason why young families need estate planning.
Here are five tips that will ensure a good estate plan for a young family in South Dakota:
Tip # 1 - Name a Personal Representative or Trustee for Your Estate
Your Personal Representative or Trustee will be in charge of handling your financial affairs - things like paying bills, distributing assets, and hiring an attorney. It goes without saying that this person should be someone that you trust and is capable of handling the job.
Tip #2 - Name a Guardian for Your Minor Children
If something happens tp you, your spouse will continue to raise the children. But who will raise the children if something happens to both of you? This is usually the most difficult question young parents face. However, if you do not name a guardian for your children, a South Dakota court will have to appoint someone without knowing your desires, your children, or your family members.
Tip #3 - Provide Instructions for Distributing Your Assets
Most young couples want their assets to go to their surviving spouse. However, if both parents pass away and the children are young, they will want their assets to be used for their children's care.
Tip #4 - Name Someone to Manage Your Children's Inheritance
If you don't name this person in your estate plan, a South Dakota court will name someone to oversee your children’s inheritance.
Tip #5 - Review Your Insurance Needs
The estate planning process should also include a review of your life insurance policies. Any income earned by one or both parents would need to be replaced. Additional coverage may be needed to provide for your children until they are grown (even more if you want to pay for their college).
Estate planning requires that young families think about family relationships and make some important decisions. Also, if finances are tight, start with the most important legal documents, then update your plan as your financial situation improves. Most important, once your plan is in place, you will have peace of mind that your family will be protected if something should happen to you.