Boca Raton Estate Planning Attorney

Boca Raton Estate Planning Attorney

Whether you currently have an estate plan in place, or not, you will want to consider the following after adding a child to your family, whether through surrogacy, adoption, or born to you. It is crucial to create or modify an estate plan after welcoming a new child into the family.
If your child is a minor, have you considered who would be the guardian of the child should you and your partner pass away? One of the first things you will do in your estate plan is choosing guardians. You will want to place the names of those guardians (and any backup) in your Will. You should also complete a stand-alone guardianship form which can act outside the Will.

Some of the questions you will want to discuss include: Did you and your spouse enter your marriage with children from prior relationships? If so, you will need to decide how each child is going to be treated. Are all children going to be treated equally? If your adoptive child is significantly younger than your other child(ren), you should consider if the younger child would need more financial assistance than the older one, should you pass away sooner. 


Trusts are the only way to avoid probate for your children or any beneficiaries of your estate. Certain trusts can also act as asset protection. Minor children cannot inherit outright and there will need to be provisions in place, or a Court will appoint someone through the process of probate.  Additionally, even if your child isn’t a minor, do you want your child to inherit all your assets at 18? If the answer is “no” (and for most people it is), you should be thinking about placing your assets into a Trust to be held for your child until certain events occur. These events are up to you. The assets can remain in Trust until a certain age or until certain life events occur. It can also be a combination of these and other considerations, such as upon the completion of a finance course, passing a drug screen or graduating with a degree, etc. Do you want to protect the assets that your child inherits in the event your child later goes through a divorce? Remember, a Trust can be modified over time. The decisions today are not necessarily the final decisions as you age. As factors in your life change over time so should your estate plan. 

Does your adoptive child have special needs? If so, you should consider a special needs trust. This will allow you to set aside money for your child’s care without jeopardizing your child’s right to receive government benefits.
Also of significance, stepparents who help raise a spouse’s child but do not formally adopt the child, do not have legal ties to the child that entitle the child to inherit from them.  If a stepparent’s will or trust merely provides that “all the children” will receive an equal share, the stepchild will not receive anything.

You can schedule a call with us or reach us directly at 561-869-3703 to learn more about how to best plan today to protect your children in the future.
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