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What should young families be thinking about when it comes to estate planning? This is a question that many people don’t consider – not because it’s not important, but because most of us tend to think of estate planning as a topic for older or richer people.

The truth is, estate planning is something that every family should look into. It involves deciding what happens to your assets after you pass, but it goes so much deeper than that. Who will take over raising your children? How will your children be provided for, both as minors and later in life? Who will make those decisions – you, or the state?

(Hint: if you don’t have a detailed estate plan in place, the state will make those decisions for you.)

As parents, it is our job to protect and provide for our children. Our goal is to raise them so that eventually, they will be prepared for life without us. None of us likes to think about the “what ifs” behind that happening too soon, but it’s an important part of the puzzle.

Following are some things to consider. Not every item will apply to every family, but that’s the beauty of a solid estate plan: it can evolve as your family, finances, and goals change.


Who Will Take Care of My Children?

This is perhaps the most important question for many young families when it comes to estate planning. Many couples may have thought this through and even made informal arrangements, but unless these arrangements are clearly stated in a legal document (such as a will), the court can make a different decision if it decides that decision is in the best interest of your children.

As a parent, you want the best for your children, even if you’re somehow not around to provide it. By creating an estate plan now, you can ensure that your children are protected and provided for, no matter what happens in the future.

Statistics show that only 36% of young families have taken the step of creating an estate plan; we encourage you to join their ranks and safeguard your children’s future. If you would like to know more about what this involves, contact our office – we’re happy to answer your questions!

Can I Control How My Assets Are Divided and Used?

If you die without an estate plan in place, the court will use a process called probate to decide how to divide and utilize your assets. This can become very complicated, often taking anywhere from several months to a year or more.

By taking the time to meet with an estate planning attorney, you can not only avoid the hassle of probate, you can also specifically determine what is done with your house, your cars, your finances, and any other assets you may have.

Would you like them to be used to provide for your child’s needs while they’re growing up? To pay for college or help them purchase a home when they’re old enough? Or perhaps provide an inheritance when they reach a certain age?

These are all decisions an attorney can help you make, but they can also create the documents that can make these decisions a reality in the event that you pass away.

Who Will Manage My Assets?

This is another question that young families often don’t think about. You may not think that you have many assets to manage yet, but chances are strong that you want them to be managed by someone you trust (rather than by the state).

Documents in your estate plan will equip you to choose both who manages your assets and to provide guidelines or rules for how your assets are managed.

You’ll want to choose someone you trust, someone who is responsible enough to take on the job. This person will have the job of handling the details and carrying out your wishes.

When your children are old enough, you can choose to pass on an inheritance to them in a number of ways – but until then, you can ensure that your assets will be managed and distributed wisely, according to your wishes.

Who Will Make Medical, Legal, and Financial Decisions if I’m Unable?

If you are injured or otherwise medically incapacitated, do you have a plan for who will make the important decisions in your place? Do they know how you want those decisions to be made?

These aren’t questions that any of us like to think about, but if something happens, many of our clients (both young and old) are thankful that they took the time to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a solid plan.

This plan can not only cover who makes your medical decisions, but also who makes the decisions regarding your business, your financial portfolio, and your legal matters. Your estate plan can ensure that these decisions are made by someone you trust rather than the court – and that they are made in accordance with your values.

There are, of course, many other things to consider, and our attorneys are happy to guide you through the entire process. To set up a free consultation, please email us at or call us today.


DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes and is only applicable in the state of Illinois.  While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, we urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.

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