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Should you set aside money in your will for the legal guardian?

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2021 | Estate Planning

When pondering the details within a will, choosing a legal guardian for your children represents one of the most important decisions. The right choice will set your children on the path you had envisioned if you were still alive.

You also understand that the legal guardian takes on a great amount of responsibility in raising and caring for your child, and some of that comes with a bit of financial burden. As a result, you want your will to include a declaration that sets aside money for the legal guardian. That money likely will help with education and household costs or even the required remodeling of the home to accommodate your child.

A good gesture to do so

Your will already should provide money for your child via a testamentary trust, overseen by a trustee. (In most cases, the trustee is not also the legal guardian.) The money from such a trust gets distributed in increments by the trustee to the legal guardian in supporting minor children. Sometimes, this money may be enough.

Still, it would be a good gesture on your part and provide a stronger financial safety net if your will provides money for your child’s legal guardian. Now, you must decide the amount. In doing so, consider the ages and needs of your children, while anticipating any financial challenges faced by their legal guardian.

Some amounts have been bandied about, but only you can decide. Is $50,000 a good barometer? How about $100,000? However, keep in mind, especially if you are a young parent, that your estate may not even be worth a three-figure sum.

Here are some of the areas for which that money may be used:

  • Medical and dental care costs
  • Education costs
  • Costs related to basic needs such as food and clothing
  • Shelter, including necessary home renovations and expansions
  • Vehicle-related expenses for gas, vehicle purchase and auto insurance

Your child’s chosen legal guardian may eventually possess your most important asset: your children. Setting aside money for that person is something to consider when creating a will. And, if a trust exists, make sure that the trustee and legal guardian collaborate in guiding your children.