No parent has children with the intention to leave them as unprotected orphans. But for thousands of American children, that did happen in the last 2 years. More than 140,000 U.S. children under the age of 18 became Covid orphans and lost a parent or secondary caregiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to statistics released by the CDC. Parents of minor children under the age of 18 have special estate planning needs to protect their children if something should happen while their children are young.
1. Make A Will
64% of Americans don’t have a will. If you die without a will, it can take months or even years for your estate to go through probate. Illinois intestacy laws will determine who will inherit your assets. Making or updating a will is the best way to protect your young children, make sure that your wishes are known and followed and make sure your family doesn’t have additional financial burdens if you should die while your children are younger than 18.
2. Review Your Beneficiaries
If you have life insurance, investments, retirement savings or other financial accounts that have a beneficiary, you need to review and update your beneficiaries to protect your young children. Who you list on your beneficiary designation form will override what is listed on your will.
3. Designate A Guardian for Your Minor Children
If you become die or become incapacitated and cannot care for your minor children, who will take care of your children? If you do not designate a guardian, the courts will determine who can make the legal and physical custody and decision-making decisions about your children. You can designate a guardian for your minor children after your death in a will, but if you become temporarily ill, your will does not go into effect. An Illinois Short Term Guardianship can protect your children under the age of 18 if you are ill and temporarily unable to care for your child.
It’s important that you create legal documents to explain your wishes and provide for your family. Contact the Estate and Probate Legal Group in Oak at 630-864-5835 as soon as possible to create update your estate plan.
The Estate and Probate Legal Group Serves Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties in Illinois.