It has been quite some time since I have written here!
I have to say I have missed sharing information with you all. Things have changed so much since 2019, I almost didn’t know where to start. However, we’ll be starting with COVID-19. You probably thought that’s where I would start, and I can’t skip to all the good stuff without at least addressing it.
We all know that this virus has changed the world as we know it. The 19 (as some affectionately call it,) has changed our everyday routine, and shifted us all into a new normal. A survey published in Pediatrics outlines that the pandemic took a considerable toll on families’ health. This survey that was conducted June 5th to June 10th 2020 stated, that among 1,011 parents who responded, 26.9% said their mental health was worsening, and 14.3% stated their children’s behavioral health had declined. For changes in physical health, 17.7% of parents reported a worsening of their health. This is not even the worsening of health from the actual virus, which can be pretty mind blowing. At this moment a lot of families had to deal with mental and physical distress ON TOP of the pandemic.
When I read this it got me to thinking about my own family and how we were affected. I was fortunate enough to be with my family, and although it felt as if they were driving me crazy I kept my sanity. I and my children were restless, my home office became coupled with the classroom, but somehow we made it work. We had gotten into a good groove and it seemed as if nothing could disturb it. Unfortunately I had to always keep the reality of what was going on in the world at the back of my mind. What if something were to happen to me? Suppose I were to catch the virus and leave my wife and children behind. I know I sounded pessimistic but it was, and is the reality of what many people in the World are feeling if they have a family. It reminded me the importance of having a plan for my children, and whether or not people had a plan for their children.
In 2020, only 16% of Americans ages 18-34 said they had a will or another estate planning document. That percentage has since rose in 2021, at an increase of 63%! This is awesome because it means that more people have thought about what might happen to their children and family if they are no longer here. One of the first steps to ensuring your children are taken care of when you’re gone, is appointing a guardian. This is probably one of the toughest things to have to plan for. So I’m going to give you some information that will aid in this part of your life. First and foremost always make decisions with your child or children’s other parent and or guardians in their life. The Guardian named in your will should want to serve as a guardian for your child. Get their consent! Don’t just let it be a surprise once you’re deceased. You want to make sure that they are fully aware and capable of such a precious responsibility. You also may want to name an alternate guardian in your will in case there is a circumstance that your first choice is unable. Your Estate Plan should be laid out so that it ensures your children’s financial well-being along with their general welfare. This process can involve naming a trustee to manage & distribute the assets you leave in trust for you child. Your trustee can be the same person designated as your child’s guardian. While guardianship of a minor ends at 18, you can choose to have your child’s trust continue throughout their lifetime, or at a later age. Now I know this information may seem like a lot to take in, but if discussed with an Estate Planning Attorney such as myself. You shouldn’t have too much trouble, and they will be able to walk you through the intersection of guardianship laws and estate planning in your state.