NH Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Thursday, April 9, 2015

How can I provide for my minor children in my estate plan?

You have options for providing for your minor children in your estate plan.

In a will you not only can name guardians for your children, but you can also describe how you would want your estate to be distributed to them after you pass away.  One option is to distribute everything outright to your children (or to a guardian of the child).  Another option is to set up in your will separate trusts for each of your children, with a trustee who makes distributions to each child.  You can state some guidelines as to in which circumstances you think that the trustee should make these distributions. 

Yet another option could be to set up a “common pot trust” in your will.  In this scenario, your estate would not be broken up into separate trusts like the previous example, but instead, held in common for all of your children.  A common pot trust can delay division into equal shares until younger children have had the same assistance as older children for support and education.  A trustee could make unequal distributions to your children based on their needs, and could make advancements to older children for things like buying a home.  The common pot trust could terminate when the youngest child reaches a stated age and then the rest could be distributed out equally to your children.

Similar arrangements can be made in a revocable living trust plan.

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