Tag Archive for: State of Michigan

Are you concerned about your memory?

Carrier Law is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Alliance at Michigan State University to offer FREE memory screenings.

A memory screening is conducted by a trained memory screening administrator and can help determine if further evaluation is needed. A screening cannot diagnose a disease and is not recommended for persons already under a physician’s care for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

The screening is free, confidential, and takes approximately 45 minutes. We will be offering memory screenings by appointment from 11:00am-2:00pm on the dates listed.

SCREENING DATES
Tuesday: March 10
Tuesday: April 14
Tuesday: May 12
Tuesday: June 9
Tuesday: July 14
Tuesday: August 11
Tuesday: September 8
Tuesday: October 13
Tuesday: November 10
Tuesday: December 8

LOCATION
4965 E Beltline Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525

REGISTRATION REQUIRED
To make an appointment, contact Christin Carpenter at (616) 234-2844 or carpe374@msu.edu.

The fight to end Alzheimer’s is a cause particularly dear to Carrier Law. We’ve seen firsthand the devastating effects of this disease, and we’re dedicated to doing our part to get closer to a cure.

Every September, we participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s as the “Carrier’s Calvary” team. Each year, we raise the fundraising bar to a new goal, and so far, we’ve hit or surpassed our goal every year!

4th Annual Classic Car Cruise-In

On a August 9, we held our annual outdoor event to admire cool cars, dine on local eats, and raise money for our Walk to End Alzheimer’s team.

  • Over 350 people in attendance
  • Over 50 cars on display
  • 7-piece jazz band
  • Over $2,000 raised for Carrier’s Calvary

Thank you to Andi B Photography for capturing the event!

Evening at Buffalo Wild Wings

On August 21, Buffalo Wild Wings donated 20% of their profits from the entire day to Carrier Law’s team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Carrier Takeover of Culver’s

On September 9, the Carrier Law team became honorary employees at the Culver’s on Alpine. In return, Culver’s donated 10% of their profits from 5-8pm!

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

On September 14 in Grand Rapids and September 21 in Holland, the Carrier Law team and their family members joined hundreds of people from West Michigan to “walk the walk” in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.

  • 1,867 walkers
  • 199 teams
  • $296k raised, with Carrier’s Calvary contributing almost $12,000

Special thanks to:

  • Our clients, partners, and vendors who sponsored our events and participated in our silent auctions
  • Our Carrier Law team members who contributed their time and talents to the success of our various events
  • Kris Cleary, our Director of Professional Relations, who leads the charge in Carrier Law’s involvement in ALZ awareness and prevention, and is an active member of the committee for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

We look forward to reaching a new goal in 2020!

Vintage car Carrier Law Entrance Vintage trucks Jazz band Vintage cars Car trophies Dog at the event Carrier employees at Culvers Employees at Culvers Carrier employees Dogs on laps  David Carrier and Wood TV8 Walk to end alzheimers attendees Crowd at the end to walk alzheimers People at the walk to end alzheimers sign

Enjoy an evening of friendship, wine, and hors d’oeuvres to help raise funds for services that support widowed community members. Carrier Law is proud to return as a sponsor and invites you to attend as our guest!

DATE
Thursday, November 7, 2019

TIME
6:00 – 8:00PM

PLACE
Grand Rapids Yacht Club
740 Lakeside Dr SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Call or email Kris Cleary for your complimentary ticket: (616) 361-8400 or kcleary@davidcarrierlaw.com

A health care crisis can arise in an instant – even for the healthiest person – so every estate plan should have a health care component. This provides the powers and instructions to your loved ones and doctors to carry out your wishes should you be unable to express them.  The proper health care documents should be drafted by an experienced Estate Planning law firm, such as Carrier Law.

There are several forms to consider:

  1. HCPOA – The Health Care Power of Attorney document is a critical document for all adults – probably the most important document on this list. When properly drafted, it allows a patient advocate to make health care decisions when the patient is not competent. It can allow the patient advocate to sign a POST – Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment. It can also cover HIPAA situations. Caution: When being admitted to the Hospital or other facility, you are often asked to present or sign a Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA). If you already have such a signed HCPOA, bring it with you – especially one drafted by Carrier Law. Our Health Care Power of Attorney document is much broader than most, and signing a new one could revoke it. (Most HCPOAs have language stating that upon signing the document you revoke all prior HCPOAs.)
  2. HIPAA Authorization – (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) This authorization is used to allow the personal representative to obtain medical records, billing records and communicate with health care professionals.  It is not used to make medical decisions. It can be used even if the patient is competent.
  3. Care Directive – Provides instructions to others as to what the patient’s wishes are for certain care that might be provided. Each care directive is unique in what the instructions provide. It may cover items such as: Living Will issues, life-sustaining treatment, artificial nutrition and hydration, and comfort care. It could include organ donation wishes, funeral and burial instructions, and instructions regarding an autopsy. These are all very important wishes for many people. Carrier Law recently updated their Care Directive instructions to be more comprehensive. If you previously filled out a Care Directive with Carrier Law and would like to update it, you can download a copy of the new version here.
  4. POST (Michigan Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) – This document is put into place when the patient has less than one year to live. The POST form must be signed by the patient’s physician, the PA, or nurse practitioner. It is a standard State of Michigan form that details the patient’s end-of-life care wishes. It covers: resuscitation, ventilation, defibrillation, and comfort measures. The recommended time to complete this document is when the patient is being discharged from a hospital and is going home, to a nursing home, or other location outside of a hospital.
  5. Funeral Representative Designation – A funeral representative is a person designated in a legal document as having authority to make decisions concerning the handling, disposition, or disinterment of a decedent’s body. The funeral representative is authorized by statute to make decisions regarding cremation and has the right to retrieve from the funeral home and possess cremated remains of the decedent immediately after cremation.
  6. Guardianship – A Guardianship (which is set up through Probate Court) can often be avoided with the proper legal health care documents in place before a crisis arises. A Guardianship is often a more expensive and time-consuming proposition, compared with the properly drafted health care documents.

How do these health care documents compare, and do I need all of them? That depends on your life stage and overall health.
Click below for a visual comparison of each document.

 

“I left my ‘real career’ to care for both my parents with dementia over the last few years.

Throughout that time, there were many moments of being at a loss, feeling the isolation/stress of being a sole caretaker, asking myself how can I keep doing this, and telling myself I was ‘the engine that could’…to keep going.

I reflect back now, and I do not have any regrets taking care of my father/mother up until 2 months before my father’s passing. After all, he had always taken care of me up into and past his death. It certainly was a rough stressful road, but he always said ‘he was lucky’ pertaining to me caring for him. I only gave back one half of what he gave me in my life.

During those last months, I didn’t know where to turn. I received bad advisement from a local attorney’s office that seemingly specialized in elder’s needs, only to come to the realization that they were not ‘specialists’ at all. I spent unnecessary income hitting brick walls, and felt alone in this long, difficult estate planning process with all the facets it entails.

Thankfully, all of you showed up at a time where I felt like ‘the engine that could’ was ready to derail.

Although you didn’t know my father, he was a very good man – everyone who knew him loved him. He had ‘good character’ and lived his life that way. In working with all of you, I saw those characteristics in each of you.

The let’s get it done work ethic, the unruffled and patient calmness in stressful situations, the genuine heartfelt caring, the gentle voices of support/reason, and strong advocation for those in need, big hearts, good people, a helpful hand, a general tenacity for what is right, a warm smile, and a good laugh when you need it most in a trying situation.

I wanted to express how thankful I am for each one of you. I thank you for all your hard work, guidance, and support you have provided.

Special thanks to Chris, Kris, Georgia, and Mindy. I truly do not know what I would have done without all of you.

You all are the best and have been so kind to me, I cannot thank you enough.”

– Liz Licari and parents

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that could mean changes for all Americans with the most common type of retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Proposed changes to retirement reflect the realities facing many workers today.

The SECURE Act is being proposed as an improvement to the retirement system, and stands for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019”. Interestingly, most of the changes either highlight the difficulty of saving for retirement, or the challenges faced by many workers today who are facing a future with a shaky Social Security System, and insufficient retirement funds. While there are some positives, some of the changes proposed would simply make it easier for people to retire with less money and less security than before.

Access to Retirement Plans for Part-time employees

With the rise of the “gig” economy, more people are working part-time jobs. This bill would allow long-term part-time employees the opportunity to participate in retirement plans, if their employer offers one.

Disclosure of Estimated Retirement Income

Employers would be required to disclose an estimate of future retirement income on 401(k) statements. This would hopefully show employees how much more they need to save, if the assumptions used for those estimates are realistic. The assumption for the estimates will be set out by the Treasury Secretary.

Use of Retirement Savings for Student Loan Debt

With the rising costs of higher education, this bill would provide some relief for those who find themselves with crippling student loans that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. They could now also reduce their retirement savings to pay off those loans.

Access to Retirement Plans for Small Employers

Another change would make it possible for small employers to group together in offering a retirement plan. This would be helpful, since 42% of private-sector workers don’t have access to a workplace retirement plan.

Reduced Regulations on Annuities

More 401k plans will be able to offer plans to convert retirement savings into annuities. This should greatly benefit insurance and annuity companies by increasing their market and reducing the regulations for offering annuities as part of retirement plans.

Extended Retirement Contribution Age

As more people need to keep working well past normal retirement age, this bill would allow people to continue adding to their retirement plans after age 70-1/2 and would allow people to hold off on withdrawing from their plans until age 72. This also reflects the fact that many people probably haven’t saved enough for retirement by the time they hit 70-1/2.

Use of Retirement Savings for New Children

Many new parents find that their health insurance plan still leaves them with thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket expenses for the birth of a child. Rather than making any changes to the health insurance system, or increasing entitlement programs for families, this bill would allow these parents the opportunity to reduce their future retirement savings by spending some now on these expenses for new children. This will probably not help increase the falling birth rate in the country.

Restrictions on Stretch Distributions

With the US budget deficit in the trillions, this bill would bring in additional revenue in the form of increased and accelerated income taxes paid by beneficiaries of retirement plans. Rather than being able to stretch out inherited retirement money over their lifetime, beneficiaries (your children) will have to take out money over 10 years, likely bumping them up to a higher tax bracket, and increasing the percentage of the inheritance that goes to taxes. What does this mean? Let’s look at an example.

A single 45-year-old making $100,000 inherits a $1,000,000 Traditional IRA from her parents. She can either cash it out immediately (which is what the vast majority of children do) or she can stretch out the distributions.

Cash out: Based on her income and 2018 tax rates, she would be taxed at an effective rate of 33.48%, leaving her with $665,200 of inherited cash.

Current Stretch Rules: She can opt to take the required minimum distributions over her life expectancy. After 10 years, she has paid a total of $243,000 in taxes, received approximately $368,000 in required minimum distributions, and has $1.64 million left in the IRA.

Proposed Stretch Rules: She can opt to take the required minimum distributions for a maximum of 10 years. After 10 years, she has paid $615k in taxes and inherited a total of $865,000.

Below is a graph that visually represents the difference in these rules, assuming the child invests the required distributions after paying taxes and has normal living expenses and Social Security Income:

Image credit: “The Hidden Money Grab in The SECURE Act” James Lange, Forbes Contributor

As usual, all parties involved will continue to look for ways to maximize their benefits under any changed law. We will continue to look for ways to protect and preserve your assets for you and your family. There are options involving trusts that could still preserve a lifetime income stream for children who inherit your retirement savings.

Carrier Law has added to its Estate Planning and Elder Law arsenal of tools a HIPAA authorization in accordance to the Health Insurance and Accountability Act’s provisions.

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA is an abbreviation for “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act”. In 1996, Congress enacted HIPAA to protect individually identifiable health care information from being disclosed to an unauthorized individual. In 2002, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) finalized standards for the electronic exchange, privacy and security of health information.

HIPAA requires any health care entity, including a physician’s office, a hospital or other health care facility, or an insurer, that deals with personal health information to follow strict rules about how to handle protected information. For example, Health and Human Services allows physicians and insurance companies to exchange individually identifiable health information to pay a health claim but would not allow them to release it publicly.

HIPAA also limits the ability of a new employer health plan to exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions. This means a person who has health insurance coverage can change jobs — and therefore health plans — without worrying that a condition that they already have, such as diabetes or asthma, would not be covered under the new health plan.


Some Pros and Cons of HIPAA

Pros

HIPAA benefits for the patient:

  • Grants the patient the legal right to see, copy, and correct their personal medical information.
  • Prevents employers from accessing and using personal health information to make employment decisions.
  • Enables patients with pre-existing conditions to change jobs without worrying that their conditions would not be covered under a new employer’s health plan.

Cons

HIPAA’s effects have not all been positive.

  • In a time of a medical crisis, a patient may be incapacitated and not able sign a HIPAA authorization granting someone access to needed medical information. Therefore, the HIPAA authorization must be signed and in place before the medical crisis arises.
  • The American Medical Association claims that the HIPAA regulations are a tremendous burden on the doctors and healthcare providers to comply with the complicated rules.
  • HIPAA has spawned a mini-industry of companies and consultants who help medical professionals comply with the law’s lengthy provisions. All adding to the cost of healthcare.
  • Some professionals who deal with medical paperwork have become overcautious about releasing protected information. For example, some physician’s offices now refuse to mail test results, requiring patients to pick them up in person. Some hospitals require physicians to submit written requests on their own letterhead for information on a patient’s condition, when the law allows this information to be provided by phone.


Carrier Law Cares

To make sure you are prepared in a time of medical crisis to allow authorized individuals access to your health care information, Carrier Law will provide, upon request, free of charge to all Carrier Law’s past and current clients a HIPAA authorization. Call our office for details.

To download our HIPAA form, click here.

by Bill Bereza, Associate Attorney

My dad was sure that he was going to live to 100. He was born the year after his parents bought the family farm, and he always talked about getting the farm into Michigan’s Centennial Farm Program. Planning for death or incapacity was never on his mind. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he kept on going as normal. He was still working on the farm the week before he went into hospice.

My dad refused to talk about death.

He never talked about what would or should happen with the farm if he became too ill to run it. He would never sign a will or a trust or a power of attorney, and he believed that insurance was a waste of money because “you’ll be dead” when the money comes in. As he came closer to the end, I learned that this was really because of his fear of death. He was still a young man when his father died. His father’s cancer wasn’t discussed until he was dying, so to my father, talking about the end of life meant death.

It’s hard to say that it is fortunate that my dad died quickly. He didn’t spend years in a nursing home. He died at home in the very same bedroom he was born in. We were all spared the guilt of placing him in a nursing home, knowing that he hated being away from his farm. We didn’t need to worry about how to pay for his care; the farm was my parents’ only asset. We knew that the farm was safe, that it didn’t have to be broken up and sold off in pieces to pay for the care that he assumed he’d already been paying for with every paycheck of his working life.

We had luck, a painful kind of luck.


Since then, my mom has made a plan. She has a power of attorney, a patient advocate, a will, and a trust to make sure the farm stays in the family and isn’t lost to the chances of fortune. She knows that what she and dad spent a lifetime working on will be protected for herself and her kids and grandkids. She has shared with us her thoughts, her fears, and her desires. She has given us the gift of relief, from doubt, uncertainty, and guilt.

It’s hard to talk with your kids about death. Some parents may use their own experiences with death in their own lives as an opportunity to discuss mortality with their kids, or as a reason to avoid bringing up a painful experience. The death of a parent is usually the first real painful experience most people will deal with. Your children will have to deal with it whether you want them to or not.

We all know that death is inevitable. Many people decide that because it will happen no matter what they do, they may as well do nothing. Only 4 in 10 American adults have a Will, according to a 2018 Caring.com survey. Furthermore, the survey found that only 1/3 of parents with children under 18 have a Will.

A basic, comprehensive estate plan will include, at minimum, a Will, a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, a Patient Advocate Designation, Advance Directives, and one or more Living Trusts.

Whether you have a plan – or realize you need one – talking to your kids about it is essential.

Talk about life, before talking about death

The first thing to remember is that we don’t live life in perfect physical and mental health right up until the minute we die. Nearly 70 percent of Americans die in a hospital, nursing home, or long-term care facility. Chances are, you’ll need someone to make medical and financial decisions for you. After a spouse, the kids are most often named in a Durable Power of Attorney and Patient Advocate Designation.

What kind of life do you want, if you’re no longer able to communicate those decisions for yourself? The benefit of starting with incapacity when talking to the kids is that it lets you talk about the things you like. Your favorite foods, books, tv shows; these are positive things to share. The way to share your life wishes is to share with your kids what matters to you.

An Advance Directive is a way to put those life wishes in writing. It’s also a way to relieve some of the stress from your kids. Any child who has had to make care decisions for their parent has probably had to deal with guilt and wonder whether they really are doing the right thing for their parents. By having the conversation with the kids and giving them a written plan, you can ease their burden.

Ask your kids what is important to them, before you plan

Parents often worry about trying to be “fair” to all the kids, trying to plan to avoid what they perceive could be a problem. If you know that one child really cares about your medical care, or another child doesn’t want to deal with finances, or if the children agree on who should inherit what, you can make estate planning decisions confidently and comfortably.

Again, this should be a focus on what matters to your life, and the lives of your kids.

Manage expectations

The conversations we avoid often lead to bigger problems later. If a child is disappointed or surprised by one thing in your estate plan, they are more likely to dispute everything in the plan. A serious problem can occur if, after your death, a child believes that you were forced or coerced into making an estate plan or weren’t competent when you planned. If you tell the kids the plan now, they may be less likely to object later.

Managing the differences

In every family, there are differences between the kids: how well they manage money, how much they need money, and any inherent legal risks in their lifestyle or profession. You may even consider who is the most likely to care for you as you age – due to ability and/or geography – and what sacrifices they’ll need to make to do that.

These considerations can all contribute to how you decide to distribute your estate – equal is not always fair. You may want to leave less to your daughter, because she doesn’t need it, or you may want to leave money to your son in a restricted trust because he can’t handle it. By talking about this with your kids now, you can address your decisions and their questions together, instead of leaving them to make assumptions after you’re gone. The worst situations are when kids are left feeling as if they were “loved less” due to the decisions by their parents. Unfortunately, we do see that now and then, but most often, the reality is that decisions are made from the utmost love and foresight for each child.

Prepare an asset inventory

Most estate planning attorneys will have you prepare a financial information packet detailing your assets. Think of this as a tool for your kids as well. Dealing with the death of a parent can be the most difficult thing that happens to many people. The burden of hunting down what the parent owned, where bank accounts exist, are burdens you can prevent by keeping the inventory with your estate plan.

In any situation after your death, whether it’s in probate court or with trust administration, preparing an inventory is often the first step for your trustee, executor, or personal representative. You can help get that first step done for them.

Your final wishes

The simple things after your death can cause the biggest heartache for the children left behind. You may not care about your funeral plans, the casket decorations, the type of urn, the music or scripture readings. For your kids, this can be an important part of their grieving process. You can help them by discussing those plans with them and putting them in writing. Children often spend a lot of time and money on funeral arrangements because they think “that’s what mom would want” when in fact you may be happy with a simple gathering. They won’t know if they aren’t told.

The next step

Life is full of risk, and life is full of stress. Death is an inevitability, and not talking about it won’t make it go away. If there’s some risk and stress in talking to your kids about this now, there is sure to be risk and stress after you’re gone if things are left unsaid. An estate plan should be a plan for life, and by talking to your kids now, you can craft a plan that will fulfill the needs of your life and the lives of your kids.

by Molly Black, Director of Legal Services

If a Michigan resident dies without a will, otherwise known as dying intestate, the intestacy laws under the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (“EPIC”) dictate who will inherit the property of the decedent. This provides for an inflexible pattern of distribution which may not distribute your assets according to your wishes. The highest priority is given to their surviving spouse, followed by their descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren), parents, and siblings. The amount that a spouse will inherit depends on several factors, including whether or not it was a blended family.

Any jointly-owned property or accounts with named beneficiaries (commonly, life insurance policies and retirement accounts) will pass directly to the co-owner or beneficiary without going through the probate process.

There is also the question of who will administer the estate. A properly executed Will designates a Personal Representative to carry out your wishes after death. Without a Will, the probate court will appoint someone to administer the estate.

What problems could arise if you die without an estate plan?

The first problem your family could face after your death is determining who will make funeral arrangements. Without a legal document in place that appoints a funeral representative, a Michigan statute will dictate who has the authority to make decisions surrounding the funeral. This includes making decisions about burial vs. cremation, funeral location, and cemetery arrangements.

Secondly, without a Will, there is no guarantee that your property will pass to your intended recipients. Death doesn’t bring out the best in people and when money is involved, things can get ugly. This is especially true in blended families when your biological children and stepchildren don’t get along. You might have a better relationship with your stepchildren, but without a Will, they will not be treated as your own. This can also be devastating to unmarried couples. Intestacy laws only recognize your legal and blood relatives, so an unmarried partner will not inherit their deceased partner’s property if they die without a Will.

In addition to the disposition of property, parents also need to consider their minor children. If you pass away and leave a minor child behind who has no other legal parent or guardian, the court will select a guardian based on the best interests of the child. The court-appointed guardian may not be your first choice, so executing a Will allows you to appoint a guardian of your choosing.

What can you do now?

Planning ahead provides a road map for your family and provides reassurance that your property is passing to your desired beneficiaries. A properly executed estate plan will nominate a Personal Representative of your choosing to handle the administration process, provide clear distribution instructions and lessen the likelihood of family conflict. Everything from burial arrangements, to pet care, to guardianship for minors, to distribution instructions for your family heirlooms can be planned for by creating a comprehensive estate plan.

In addition to giving you peace of mind, having a plan in place can circumvent arguments among family members which will undoubtedly lead to wasted time, expense and family turmoil.

by Samantha Sprague, Attorney

CONGRATULATIONS! Becoming a parent is an amazing experience. One thing you should be accustomed to by now is asking questions. Sometimes you get a lot of ‘answers’ to questions you may not have even known to ask.

Whether you’re brand new to the parenting gig, or have several years under your belt, below are 3 common questions that every parent should consider.

1. What happens if I can’t make my own choices?

Self-care is important, to your sanity and to your health, and sets an important example for your little one. I meet with a number of parents who come in with the primary goal of taking care of their kids.

It doesn’t matter if the kids are 2, 22 or 55 – every good parent wants to make sure their kids are protected. However, the first thing any parenting book will preach is to make sure you take care of yourself.

Estate Planning is no different. Even before you bring your bundle of joy into the world, there are two documents you should have in place: (1) Healthcare Power of Attorney and (2) Financial Power of Attorney. This is the entry level of protection to make sure that if something awful occurs (e.g. car accident, stroke, medical procedure, etc.) you know who will be managing your assets and making medical decisions for you.

This is something that you should have in order before your little one arrives, but if they’re already here, there’s no time like the present to get started.

2. Who is going to take care of my child if I can’t?

No one person is invincible. You need a backup plan in case life goes drastically wrong and you are no longer able to care for your children.

What happens if you die?

Some people leave it up to chance and rely on the probate courts to pick someone to raise their kids. Generally, the courts will give preference to family members, but there are a lot of factors that are taken into account for something called “Judicial Discretion.”

Judicial Discretion means that where your kids end up is entirely in the hands of the probate judge, a person who has never met you, does not know your family, and is unaware of your wishes.

What can you do?

Every parent – regardless of how much money they have in the bank or what they own – should have a will. A will is where parents get to determine who is going to raise their kids if they cannot.

If a parent has guardianship and conservatorship language within their will, they get to choose who their child will live with and who will manage the stuff they leave behind for their child.

This does not eliminate parental rights if your child still has a surviving parent. However, if both parents should die or be incapacitated, the testamentary wishes (Will) outlined by the parents serve as guidance for the court.

There are other considerations that should be addressed with blended families, step-parent’s rights, and same-sex parents.

Each situation is unique and you should consult with an attorney on what your legal rights are and how you can make sure you are putting the right documents in place to provide surety that you decide who raises your kids.

3. How do I protect my kids with my Estate Planning?

As parents, we are hardwired to look out for our kids, to protect them, and to teach them to protect themselves when they are able to.

However, everyone approaches parenting a little differently.

There are helicopter parents trying to ‘bunk’ with their college-aged kiddo, and then there are those employing the sink-or-swim method my grandpa used to teach my mom how to swim in Lake Erie.

With your estate plan, you can put ‘safeguards’ in place for minor children, so the assets you leave are protected both FOR them and FROM them until they learn how to manage the money.

One way to ensure that anything you leave is protected is to create a Revocable Living Trust. This is a document that can be modified as your family grows and requires different types of protection.

A common practice within trusts is to put age restrictions in place. When you have multiple children of different ages you can ensure that minor children receive what they need while still allowing for a fair distribution.

If you are like many young parents, you may find that you are worth more dead than alive due to the low cost of life insurance. Making a trust the beneficiary of life insurance policies can ensure the money is protected for your kids.

There are numerous options for protecting assets for your kids. However, whatever you decide to put in place, it is important to remember that as your life changes and your kids grow, you should plan to update your documents. We recommend annual or semi-annual reviews to make sure your documents evolve along with your family.