Creating an Estate Plan for Minor Children in Berrien County, MI

As a parent, protecting your children is one of your top concerns. That includes making sure they’re taken care of in the unfortunate event of your passing or if you become incapacitated. Preparing for the worst and planning for the future with an estate plan for your children is a critical part of keeping them safe.

Your estate plan will dictate who should care for and raise your children after your death instead of leaving it to the courts. You can name long-term and short-term guardians, and provide them with instructions for your children’s care. A thorough estate plan for your children, crafted by a knowledgeable estate lawyer, can prevent disputes, and protect your legacy. Serving Southwest Michigan, Legacy Counsel offers comprehensive and meticulous estate planning for minors. Our attorneys will ensure that every aspect of your plan reflects your unique needs, family dynamics, and business interests.

Call 269-932-4017 for a Consultation.

Why a Child Protection Plan Is Important

Your plan can answer many questions about your children’s care in the case of your sudden death.

  • Ensure Your Children are Protected. Your estate plan will name guardians to care for your children temporarily and permanently.
  • Provide Stability for Your Loved Ones. If you and your spouse die suddenly or cannot care for your children, your protection plan will reassure your family of who will care for your children without making them fret about who will take responsibility for them.
  • Reduce Conflict. Your plan will safeguard your children’s best interests and guarantee their needs will be met without creating a fight for their care.
  • Offer Peace of Mind. Preparing for the future can allow you to rest easier knowing that your children will be protected in the case of your sudden death.

Our Estate Planning Lawyers Can Help You

  • Create a New Will
  • Update an Existing Will
  • Nominate a Permanent Guardian
  • Evaluate Assets & Beneficiaries
  • Establish Trusts
  • Integrate Life Insurance Policies

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Why Work With Legacy Counsel?

Our services extend beyond being lawyers who handle estate planning for minors. We nurture client relationships and remain accessible. From the moment you sign your documents, we commit to being with you and your loved ones every step of the way.

Legacy Clients Benefit From

  • A Fully Custom & Valid Michigan Will
  • Clear & Upfront Pricing
  • 3 Year Reviews at No Additional Cost
  • Open & Honest Communication
  • E-Signature Capability, Virtual Consults & Expedited Services.

Contact Legal Counsel today to book a consultation. We will answer all your questions and address your concerns.

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How to Draft an Estate Plan for Minors in Michigan

Creating a plan for your children’s care in the event of your passing is crucial. Your estate plan will nominate the guardians you want to care for your children, indicate how you’d like them raised, and direct these new guardians on what resources they can use for your children’s care.

Naming Guardians for Your Children

You can name your preferred guardian for your children in your last will and testament. Both parents should consider having separate wills, and each spouse will name the other as the children’s preferred guardian. This ensures your children will be with at least one of their parents in the event one of you dies.

You should also name guardians in the event both parents pass away. You will need to name a temporary guardian and a long-term guardian.

Who Should I Name as My Children’s Guardian?

Before you select a guardian for your children, you must consider a few variables. Where do you want your children to live? Will your preferred guardian agree to raise your children? What are your wishes for your children’s upbringing?

Also consider the guardian’s ability to care for children. For instance, toddlers may be too much of a handful for their grandparents to raise. You can work with a kids protection lawyer to evaluate your options and select the person who best suits your wishes and needs.

Completing the Guardian Nomination Forms

A guardian nomination form is the legal document that names a permanent guardian of your children should the need arise. This is the person or people who would be responsible for your kids’ physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. You can name someone to take care of financial matters through a will or a trust.

This nomination will stand in the background, waiting to be used if it becomes necessary. In the event of your death or incapacity, the temporary guardian will care for your children while the long-term guardian is notified.

Petitioning the Court for Guardianship

Once your preferred long-term guardian is notified of their need, they will take your guardian nomination form to court. They will be able to petition the court to be appointed the legal guardian of your children.

Estate Planning for Minors FAQs

Can I Leave Instructions on How to Raise My Children?

You can describe your expectations for how your children’s nominated guardian will raise them in a detailed letter of instruction, which will be delivered to them after you die or become incapacitated. Your letter can describe your children’s likes and interests and explain how you expect them to be raised. That includes religious upbringing, health decisions, or education.

It’s hard to guarantee that your nominated guardian will follow your wishes, so keep that in mind as you review candidates. You can narrow down your choice of guardian by finding someone who aligns with your values and your children’s best interests.

Are Godparents the Same as Guardians?

Not necessarily. Naming a godparent fills a religious role in your child’s life, but you must take further steps to name them a guardian in the legal sense. You can nominate your child’s godparent as a guardian in your estate plan.

How Do I Ensure Specific People Can’t Have Guardianship of My Children?

When you create a comprehensive estate plan, you will be able to confidentially exclude anyone you would not want to raise your children. If those people attempt to take custody of your children, your named guardians will have powerful documentation of your wishes. They can block any attempt for anyone you would not want to have the care of your children.

How Can I Protect my Children’s Inheritance?

In Michigan, children cannot directly own property, inherit it, or make contracts. If you die without a will, someone will be appointed by the courts to manage money and assets for the children’s care. You can protect your children’s best interest using a trust, where you can transfer your assets to provide for your children. Learn more about trusts here.

Will My Children’s Guardians Need to Provide Money for My Children?

Not necessarily. You are responsible for any money that your children will need, even after your death. You can use a trust or your will for their inheritance. Your children’s new guardians should not pay out of their own pockets for your children.

How Can I Pay for My Child’s College Tuition?

You can protect your child’s chance of education by specifying that some of your children’s inheritance will fund their education. You can include language in your will or trust to set aside a portion of your estate for the purpose of your child’s education, using standards for their “Health, Education, Maintenance, and Support” (HEMS). Talk to us about our College Care Plan to learn how we can help you.

Build Your Legacy with Our Estate Planning Attorneys

Based in St. Joseph, Legacy Counsel PLC is a boutique estate planning firm serving Southwest Michigan, including Berrien County, Cass County, Van Buren County, and more.

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Call 269-932-4017.