The classic childhood story of Cinderella is told by mothers and fathers not once but many times with their children. It’s a love story with a pumpkin-turned-carriage, dancing, and a glass slipper. Often overlooked, however, is how sad the story actually begins. In the first few pages, we discover Cinderella’s father died leaving orphan Cinderella to live with her Evil Stepmother and Stepsisters who treat her terribly.
While Cinderella became a kind and thoughtful girl, she was routinely overlooked and neglected. Without the help of her mouse friends and some magic, her dreams would have turned into a nightmare. Had Cinderella’s Father had an attorney, there are a number of ways he could have protected his princess.
Appoint a Guardian as wonderful as a Fairy Godmother
An estate planning attorney can draft documents naming a guardian in the event of your death. You are often in the best place to know who would raise your Prince or Princess with the same or substantially same values.
A guardianship involves two parts: the estate (financial decisions) and person (residential, medical, and educational decisions). In most cases, the same person would fill both roles. Some clients, however, elect to have a separate person or corporate fiduciary handle the child’s finances. It’s important to note, the court will only appoint one person at a time, but you can name backups in the event someone is unable or unwilling to serve.
Planning the Happily Ever After
If Cinderella’s Father had a second chance, he probably would have discussed his financial options with an estate planning attorney. His attorney could have established a Revocable Living Trust Agreement (“Trust”) to set aside certain assets as separate property for Cinderella’s use and enjoyment. Every parent knows that children are expensive, especially dresses for important occasions. A Trust can distribute funds upon high school graduation, higher education, or special moments to ensure the funds are not depleted upon the child reaching adulthood (18). In addition, the Trust could name a trusted individual to care for the child’s funds. This person, known as a Trustee, could be a friend, fiduciary, corporate trustee, or perhaps the best choice, a Fairy Godmother.
At McClelland Law Firm, we would be happy to plan the “happily ever after.” Contact us today to begin the process of protecting your prince or princess.