As we frequently discuss here, a thorough estate plan can help you provide for your loved ones after you’re gone and also help them avoid costly probate fees and unnecessary taxes. If you have minor children, you can designate one or more guardians in your estate plan to care for them if you and your co-parent both died or became incapacitated.
However, as one financial advisor notes, parents of young children would be wise to go one step further. That involves something he has termed “micro estate planning.”
When it comes to ensuring that your children are cared for as you would wish in the hours and days following a tragedy, micro estate planning would involve drafting a separate document designating who should assume guardianship of the children until legal guardianship can be established, either as you’ve outlined in your estate plan or some other way.
After you’ve drafted this document, you should keep a copy not only in your estate plan binder, but on your refrigerator or some location where a babysitter, police or others can easily find it. This can help save your children the added trauma of being taken by Child Protective Services (CPS) or other authorities until an appropriate guardian can be located.
Remember that one of the key goals of your estate plan is to make things easier for your loved ones at a very difficult time. This is particularly crucial if you have young children. You may have plenty of family and friends who would be willing and able to care for your kids if something happened to you. However, by codifying your wishes in a legal document and making it easy to access, you can help minimize the trauma of an already devastating time for your children and family.