After considering the needs of a spouse, children are the next most likely beneficiaries of a last will and testament. Often the entire estate is distributed to the spouse with an expectation that the spouse will provide for the children. However, this may not be appropriate if the spouse is not the parent of your children. Further, you must plan for the possibility that your spouse will not survive your death.

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Minor Children
: Minor children need to be protected against the possibility that a parent will not be available to provide support for the children. For example, you may wish to create a minor children’s trust to provide for the possibility that your spouse will not survive your death, or to provide for the possibility that you have minor children that are not also the children of your current spouse. Typically, protection is provided by including a minor children’s trust that is funded with your estate assets to provide support for your children until they become adults.

A minor children’s trust is included as part of your last will, or if you use a living trust arrangement instead of a will, it can be included as part of a living trust. If you use a minor children’s trust, you will need to select a trustee. In addition, it is important to select a guardian to care for and make legal decisions for minor children.

Adult Children: After providing for the needs of a surviving spouse, adult children often receive a significant portion of the estate. Issues to consider include whether to provide equal shares to children, how to allocate assets between the children and the spouse, and how to provide for a child's special needs.

Grandchildren: In some cases, it may be desirable to provide for grandchildren, if the grandchildren have special needs or if you want to assist with educational expenses. In other cases, it is appropriate to make gifts to grandchildren because the parents already have sufficient assets.

Get started Start Your Last Will and Testament Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Last Will and Testament Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.