Leaving an Inheritance for Your Children
Setting up a will when you have young children can pose a number of complications. Because they are unable to manage assets on their own, you will need to figure out how to best care for them until they are old enough to assume financial control. For many people, they avoid this issue by simply not leaving property directly to their children, but instead place it in the care of their spouse. For single parents, however, this is not an option, and they need to take certain legal steps to care for their children.
If you do not explicitly state how a child’s inheritance will be handled, a probate court will do it for you by appointing a property guardian for children under 18. Though these courts do their best to choose a trustworthy and reliable guardian, it can be a headache for that guardian as he or she must make frequent trips to court to report on the property and they actually retain little control over how it is managed. It is always best to instead leave explicit instructions on who will manage the property and how it will be distributed.
In your will, you can name a property guardian for your children. This is a better option than a court appointing one, as you will have the opportunity to discuss it with this person first and make sure they are comfortable with the arrangement. You may also name a custodian under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. That person manages the property for your children until they come of legal age when they may assume control of it. The other option you have is putting your property in a trust and appointing a trustee who will manage the trust under specific guidelines that you can prescribe. You have more flexibility under this arrangement and may even delay distributing assets to your children until they are much older.
Leaving assets to children can be challenges and should be managed carefully. For assistance with this important matter, consult a respected Florida estate planning attorney with BaumannKangas Estate Law.