July 22, 2022
Michigan Estate Planning Lawyers on Adoption and Estate Planning: What You Should Know
Blended families are common throughout the country. You might marry someone with children from a previous marriage or decide to adopt a kid with your spouse. Sometimes, couples choose not to marry but raise a child together. You likely want to protect your children’s financial future, whatever your situation.
It’s crucial to create an estate plan or modify an existing one immediately after adopting a child. Although an adopted child is seen similarly to biological children in many states, certain laws could prevent your adopted son or daughter from receiving the assets you leave behind. Other family members might fight against your final wishes if you don’t create a legally enforceable estate plan.
Below are key elements you should consider if your estate plan involves adopted children.
Establish a Trust to Protect Your Assets
A trust is an essential part of estate planning. When you create a trust for an adopted child, you can ensure your assets remain protected. It’s best to leave detailed instructions regarding the management of the trust. You can designate a trustee to use your assets to pay for the cost of education, medical care, and other expenses if you pass away before your child turns 18. If you establish a trust for an adopted adult child, they could assume total control of the assets you leave them upon your death or receive them on a specified schedule.
Appoint a Guardian for Minor Children
If you have an adopted child under the age of 18, you should appoint a guardian to assume the role of caregiver if you die. The guardian you choose should know about the terms of the adoption and be comfortable with the family dynamic. Appointing someone as a guardian who won’t have your child’s best interests in mind can be damaging to their financial future.
A comprehensive estate plan will ensure that the guardian can access the money and assets you leave to meet your child’s needs. Many people set aside funds for the guardian to use towards housing, food, clothing, education, and other essentials. You can also indicate how you want the chosen guardian to use your assets for childcare. For example, you might want to keep the environment as stable as possible and inform the guardian of your desire for your kids to remain in the family home.
Update Your Will
Once you adopt a child, they become a part of your family. You’re responsible for maintaining their physical and mental well-being. It’s crucial to include them in your will, so they have rights to your assets when you pass away.
A last will and testament outlines a person’s final wishes. You can use a will to indicate to surviving family how you want to handle various aspects of your life, such as:
- Transferring assets to named beneficiaries
- Naming a guardian for minor children
- Choosing an executor to settle the estate
Any children you adopt should be in your will if you want the executor of your estate to distribute your assets to them. You should also indicate the specific assets they should receive.
Expanding a family can be an exciting time in anyone’s life. When you adopt a child, you take on the responsibility of providing the care they need. Your estate plan should reflect your decisions regarding your adopted children’s future. Do not hesitate to contact our Michigan estate planning lawyers at 844-885-4200 to discuss how to create an effective estate plan that benefits your adopted kids.
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