On Topic

Making Decisions

Special considerations for spouses and parents

If you are married, you and your spouse should have your own wills and should be familiar with the provisions of each other’s will.

Special consideration and extra time may be needed if yours is a family with children from a previous marriage, or if other family members do not accept your partner.

If you have children under age 18, it’s especially important to have a will. If both parents die at the same time, a will can not only provide for distribution of assets but, more importantly, appoint a guardian for minor children.

Providing for children or adults with special needs

Planning to meet the needs of children or adults who have special needs is often complex. First, you’ll want to safeguard their interests by providing for their guardianship at your death. The guardian will serve as an advocate and make decisions that affect their well-being. You can name a guardian in your will.

Second, you’ll want to provide for them financially. Special financial planning techniques may be needed so that you don’t jeopardize any government benefits they may be receiving. People with special needs may be entitled to government assistance, depending on the amount of income they receive. If they own marketable assets, they may not be eligible for these benefits until their assets are depleted.

If you want to leave more of your estate to a child with special needs, identify the child in your will as needing special assistance to avoid other children challenging the will.