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What You Need to Know to Protect Your Children’s Inheritance

January 28, 2010

Updating your will and other estate planning documents is vital in protecting your children and other loved ones.

Changing your will is relatively easy. You can revoke your current will and have a new one prepared, or you can amend your existing will by creating a codicil. Your attorney can advise you on which option best meets your objectives.

Here are five estate planning updates that affect your children that you should make immediately:

  • Have a guardianship plan. Name a suitable guardian for your minor children in your will. In most cases, the children’s other parent will raise your children if you pass away first. But, are you considering that he or she could remarry? In the event that parent dies while your children are still young, do you want his or her new partner to raise your children? If there is someone better qualified to do so, make your desires known now.
  • Protect what belongs to your children. Make sure your assets and property pass to your children. Spell out in your will the specifics of distributing assets so your children receive what was earmarked for them. Remember, assets aren’t only items with financial value. Sentimental items like heirlooms and family photos can be noted in an updated will to pass to your children as well.
  • Safeguard minor children. If you have minor children, you may wish to place assets you want them to inherit in a trust until they are old enough. This prevents court battles if a judge has to name someone as their conservator.
  • Name a new executor. If your children are of the age of legal majority, you can appoint them as executors, or you can choose a trusted friend or member of your family.
  • Update beneficiary designations. Life insurance, annuities, retirement benefits and IRAs are usually payable to a named beneficiary and do not pass under your will. Check these documents to see whether you need to complete new beneficiary designation forms, adding your adult children’s names or a trust for minor children, to make certain assets are left to your intended heirs.

Remember: Life changes. Once you take these steps, make sure to update your documents as your circumstances change. If we can be of help in your planning process, please contact Sharon Bosserman-Benson at (503) 768-7911 or

Don’t Forget Lewis & Clark When Updating Your Will

If you have made gifts of specific assets or amounts to us in your will and your needs or intentions have changed, remember to update these wishes as well.


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