Saturday, November 13, 2004

Younger Parent Estate Planning. I have for years thought about creating a seminar that would help young parents develop an appropriate "estate plan". By "estate plan" I mean a plan that addresses the contingency that one or both of the parents (if we are considering a couple) or the single parent would die before the child or children have grown up. The plan would include a Will for each parent, of course, but there are several other important documents that need to be considered and developed as well. And how the Will itself is to be drafted involves some important and interesting issues.

Three things have pushed me at this point to commence this project in earnest. One is that Macon and Kellsey have become "young parents". (I am working with them now on their estate plan. Kellsey has already raised a question about guardians that no one has ever raised before in my practice, and it is an excellent question.) Another is the idea that my minister, Van Lahmeyer, and I are proposing to our church session: to have a seminar on the topic to draw unchurched young parents to our Christian community. (We hope to start that seminar after the first of the year on Wednesday nights, right after our mid-week suppers.)

The third is this blog: I hope to use it as a way to try out my ideas on the little community that has formed at this particular point in hyperspace. There are a number of younger parents already reading this blog: Macon of course; Scott, who is a relatively new parent; Sean, who I hope is still reading the blog, and is also a young father (In reading Sean's blog, I have noted that there are other young fathers who post there.); my fellow lawyer and good friend, Austin, who now has one child about to graduate from Columbia, a child who is a senior at Miami Springs Senior, and a seventh-grader, who is a phenomenal soccer player. There may be others. And then we also have "parents to be" hanging around. I would invite all of you, younger parents, parents to be, older parents, people who have or had parents, to comment, ask questions, and otherwise participate as I work through this.

I will use a blog post to present and discuss a particular point or issue. I hope the posts will follow some sort of sensible order. Taken together, the posts should represent a sort of note book. I hope to take that notebook at some point and use it to create something more cohesive, such as lecture notes, handouts and Powerpoint slides. I may go back to a given post and edit or rewrite it. (I imagine your comments and questions will generate some second or additional thoughts.) I will let you know when I do. I will ask Macon, if he would, to set up on the side-bar a Younger Parent Estate Planning category and then coach me on how I can key the posts to it.

I have a bio on my law firm website and it is here. I don't like the picture (I have lost 20 pounds since then) nor the bragging tone of the bio. Cf. James 1:17. But it shows, I think, that I should know what I am talking about in this area. Yet let me say something else very important: I have practiced law (and been around) long enough to know that I don't know everything, not even nearly everything, about this topic. So don't be intimidated or reluctant to comment or ask questions. Let me say that my background and experience "entitle" me to no more than the opportunity to bring this matter up on our blog, introduce and discuss the issues, and to moderate your responses.

UPDATE: Read the next installment in the series here.

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