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A quick guide to micro estate planning

Financially concerned people in South Carolina are well aware of the long-term benefits that come with careful estate planning. Taxes can be lowered, assets can be protected and families can get some peace of mind. However, many estate owners forget about the short-term circumstances that could arise directly following a tragedy. For example, what happens to a child in the immediate aftermath of a parent's death before a court enforces the guardianship provisions can be written out in an estate plan.

This short-term, narrowly focused type of plan is sometimes referred to as a micro estate plan. It addresses issues such as who the kids will stay with temporarily and who should be immediately contacted. It can include any type of immediate action needed to help children in a time of need. For many parents, the goal of this document is to minimize the trauma their children might have to experience.

A micro estate plan should contain very specific instructions that are easy to follow. The plan should also be easily accessible to anyone taking care of the children at any given time. Sometimes, the guardians of choice live far away or are otherwise unavailable. These short-term provisions provide an option that doesn't involve children having to deal with authorities.

When parents draft a will, they can include a micro estate plan document with their overall long-term estate plan. Parents should work with an attorney to ensure that their document covers all relevant topics and is legally enforceable. A lawyer can answer any questions related to short-term provisions and provide general guidance throughout the process. A thorough, carefully considered plan is often in the best interests of both parents and children.

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