This is a guest post by Jackie Waters. Ms. Waters believes balance and diligence can help you achieve a beautiful, clean home. She runs hyper-tidy.com, providing advice on being…Hyper Tidy!
If you’re not an attorney, accountant, or financial planner, you may have anxiety about life planning and making the right decisions to secure your children’s futures. You’re not alone. Many parents are not sure where to begin with planning for contingencies in relation to their children, making financial considerations, and knowing where to go for help. Our guide will help get you started.
Do Estate Planning Now
You need to do some basic estate planning regardless of your age and the ages of your children. The first step is to write a will to determine who will serve as guardians for your children if they are minors. Even if your children are not minors, you should have a will so that you can rest assured that your final wishes will be carried out and that your property, possessions, and assets will be divided as you desired them to be.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money on attorney’s fees in drawing up a will; many online resources are cost-saving alternatives that produce binding legal documents just like attorneys do. However, if you have a large estate, several specific requests, or questions about guardianship, it may be better to meet with an attorney.
Another piece of estate planning that you should account for, especially if you have older children, is creating a life estate deed. This legal document outlines the transfer of property from you, upon your death, to another person or several people. You can leave your property to as many people as you’d like, but it’s important to get the language written correctly and specifically to protect everyone’s interests.
Get Life Insurance Policies for Everyone
It makes financial sense to get life insurance policies for everyone in your immediate family. Life insurance protects your loved ones in the event of a death that could cause significant financial losses to the family. Life insurance policies ensure your family members will be able to cover your funeral expenses and maintain their lifestyle even after you are gone. It can be very difficult for a family to make the right decisions when the main income earner dies, especially if it is unexpected. It can be very tough to make decisions under the pressure and emotion that follow such a loss. Life insurance can provide time to help with that.
While most parents consider getting policies just for themselves, you should get one for each of your children as well. Should a tragedy occur and you lose your child, you don’t want to have to worry about paying for funeral expenses while you are grieving. Most children’s life insurance policies are fairly inexpensive because they are designed to cover funeral expenses. Many parents opt to purchase a Gerber Life Grow-Up Plan for their children because it provides whole life insurance that builds cash value and guarantees life insurance into adulthood.
Another option for securing life insurance for a minor child is to purchase a rider on your own term-life insurance policy. Adding a small amount of life insurance to cover other family members provides coverage for a specific time period and pays a death benefit to the beneficiary if the insured person dies within that term.
If you aren’t sure where to begin purchasing life insurance, speak to your employer. Many employers offer life insurance options. Many home and car insurance companies also offer life insurance, and you may be able to save money if you bundle your policies or purchase more than one policy from the same company. Several financial planners also offer life insurance, so you can plan for your financial future and protect your family while working with one person.
Begin Saving for Your Children
Most people have a retirement plan through their employer. They also set up IRAs or Roth IRAs to make sure they can enjoy life well into their retirement. But, it’s just as important for you to set up a savings account for your children and begin investments for them, too. Check with your financial institution about beginning a savings account for your children. Many offer accounts with lower fees, lower minimum balances, and joint ownership or custodial accounts that transfer from you to your children when they reach age 18 or 21.
Many parents also start education savings accounts for their children as well. There are several tax advantages to starting an education savings account (ESA) and a 529 College Savings Plan, and families should look into the pros and cons of both and determine which better fits their budgets and long-term goals.
While there is no magic formula for securing your children’s financial futures, there are a few steps all families should take to protect one another and make the future easier for everyone. Conducting estate planning, securing life insurance policies, and starting savings accounts for your children are three smart first steps to take.