Tips for Choosing a Guardian for Your Children Though it is difficult to think about how you could possibly not be around to raise your own children one day, it is important to keep in mind that the guardian you select will. Therefore, you need to nominate someone you trust and who will be a good influence on your children. If you are facing the task of selecting a guardian, consider a few of these tips: It’s not Always the Most Obvious Choice It is a common misconception that guardians need to be family. If you have friends who are more suitable, they should be on your list. Finances Should not be the Deciding Factor You should not omit a great guardian because you think the person cannot financially provide. When you create a will and trust, you can ensure that your children are financially provided for regardless of the guardian selected. Consider Values The person selected to be a guardian of your children should share values and philosophies with you and your spouse. You want your children to be raised in a home similar to yours and with similar values, not by someone who will not respect your method of parenting. In the end, the guardian or guardians you choose should be people you trust and respect. Your children should know them and feel comfortable around them. By taking the time to select the right guardian, you can rest assured that your children will be cared for when you are no longer able to care for them. Experienced estate planning attorneys Brooklyn NY of the Minko Law Office offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Brooklyn NY. To learn more about these free resources, please visit www.minkolaw.com/ today. Starting College? Where Is Your Power of Attorney? With college courses starting up and everyone heading back to school, it is important for college-bound students to take care of one more thing before heading off: powers of attorney. 18 Means No Access What most parents, and college students, do not realize is that when a person turns 18, their parents no longer have a legal right to their medical records or to even make healthcare decisions on their behalf. Therefore, parents and college students need to prepare three essential documents: 1. Healthcare Directive 2. HIPAA Release 3. Powers of Attorney These three essential documents will appoint a person to be in charge of the college student’s healthcare and medical and financial well-being. In case tragedy strikes, parents and college students need to know they are cared for and things have been planned with their best interest in mind. What Happens without Powers of Attorney? When college students do not have the three essential documents, their healthcare and medical-related decisions are in the hands of the physicians treating them. Though this issue can be taken to court, it can take weeks if not months to resolve. Therefore, if you or your child is headed off to college, make a stop at your estate planning attorney’s office and create those three essential documents for a little peace of mind. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook— What Happens to it When You Die? Today, just about everyone has a social media presence of some kind. Whether their use is highly active or casual, these social media sites become digital assets. So what happens to these “assets” when you die? Unfortunately, the law has not kept up with technology; it views digital assets as useless web space. The court cannot appoint a beneficiary or determine what happens to your digital assets. Even the executor of your estate will not have automatic access or rights to these assets. That means your will needs to specifically grant that access. What Is the Value in Digital Assets? There may not be a monetary value in digital assets, but there is a sentimental one. Photographs can be stored on social media and cloud storage sites, videos can be posted on YouTube and blogs and freelance writers’ work can be found on hard drives. All of these digital assets have value to someone. So even if you think your social media, storage and computer devices are valueless, consider creating a section of your will that addresses your digital assets and, more important, what you want to happen to them in the future. Who Has Control of “You” after You Die? You’ve gone through estate planning and decided who controls your assets and debts and even who will watch your children, but what about you? When you die, who will be in charge of your remains and be responsible for carrying out your wishes regarding them? It is up to you to decide who is in charge of you, yet most people forget this step during estate planning. What Happens When No One Is in Charge? If no one is appointed during estate planning, the state will automatically give authority to particular persons in order of priority: Your surviving spouse Your surviving children Your surviving parents Your surviving siblings Next of kin The closest cemetery if there are no living relatives If you do not decide who is in charge, the courts will not only appoint a person but allow that person to decide how to take care of your remains. That means that if you wanted to be buried, but did not specify, you could be cremated instead. It is a rather quick part of estate planning to select what happens to you after you die. So make sure your estate planning professional includes it and ensure that your wishes for “you” are carried out after you pass away.
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