"Our estate planning services boil down to one thing: taking care of what's yours."
- Harvey Alper, Esq.
With estate planning, one can ensure that personal property is transferred, upon death, to beneficiaries of the deceased's choosing. Also, parents can establish a guardian for their minor children, should the parents die before the children turn 18 years of age.
With estate planning, a person takes steps to ensure that two areas are taken care of after death:
Transfer of property - An estate - that is, the wealth and property a person owns - can be transferred according to the wishes of the deceased, rather than being left to courts and to surviving family members to decide, and sometimes, fight over.
Providing for children - Parents can put a plan in place to allow for the care and upbringing of their minor children in the event that both parents die unexpectedly. In this scenario, usually a relative or close friend of the family would be named as custodian of the children.
When one parent of a two-parent household dies, the surviving parent normally takes custody of the children. However when no other parent is involved, or when both parents die unexpectedly, who takes custody of the children?
Parents are able to name a "personal guardian" - usually a close relative or trusted friend - to take guardianship of the children in such a scenario.
Legally, two different roles are being fulfilled: the raising and nurturing of the children, and, the control and management of any property left for the children's use. Often, parents will name one personal guardian to fulfill both roles.