Protecting Your Children: Estate Planning Considerations for Minors

We have partnered with Chase & Ralls, PLC to provide this sponsored series on Comprehensive Estate Planning for Mothers and Families.

Two pairs of hands, one male and one female, cradling a small wooden ornament in the shape of a house. With the text Dear Mama protect your legacy: a series on comprehensive estate planning for families. Sponsored by Chase & Ralls law firmThere is no better reason to have an estate plan in place than for the well-being of your minor children. When I speak to families with minors, they usually believe they are too young, too healthy, or don’t have enough assets that require estate planning.

Many find it morbid or don’t want to spend the fees on an attorney.

I want to convey that estate planning is a loving thing to do and a vital part of caring for your minors.

Guardianship: A Decision of Love

One of the most important decisions for parents of minors is choosing a guardian for their children. This person or couple will care for your child until that child reaches the age of majority.

What types of customs are important to you?

What religion do you want your child to grow up practicing?

Should the unthinkable occur, your choice of guardian ensures your child’s upbringing aligns with your values, hopes, and dreams.

Have a blended modern family? Even more important is to avoid family disputes! Not naming a guardian could lead to court-appointed guardians or costly family disputes.

Trust Designations: Protecting Assets for Minors and Young Adults

Minor children cannot legally own property or manage an inheritance. A trust, however, can hold assets on their behalf and be managed by a Trustee. A Trust can ensure that your child’s inheritance is used for their benefit and not squandered.

I would have spent my inheritance differently on my 18th birthday than on my 35th birthday! You can ensure that funds are available for support, maintenance, and education. You can provide for distributions when children reach milestones or certain ages throughout their adult lives.

The Trustee can be the same individual as the Guardian, or it can be different people.

Temporary Health Care Surrogates: Safeguarding in Absence

No one likes to imagine scenarios where they cannot make health decisions for their children. Those rare, glorious trips when you can sneak away without your minors can actually present a problematic situation if your child needs medical assistance.

As a military spouse and someone who travels regularly, it is imperative that I name a Temporary Health Care Surrogate for my son when I am out of town. This simple document can allow a friend or family member to take your child to the doctor, be treated at a hospital, make healthcare decisions, or will enable them to obtain a prescription in your absence.

This avoids potential legal challenges and ensures your child can receive the attention they need in a timely manner.

Temporary Custody

I am a military spouse. I represent single military parents. For many, it is important to establish a temporary custody arrangement when ordered overseas or during a lengthy absence. This temporary custody can ensure that the caregiver can obtain health insurance or enroll the child in school in your absence.

Estate planning is not merely a legal procedure; it’s a profound expression of love and responsibility toward your children.

It’s an investment in their future, assuring that they will be cared for and provided for, no matter what life may bring. Children are our future! For their sake, it is crucial to make an estate plan, keeping your minor’s best interest at heart.

Attorney Virginia Ralls headshot

Virginia Ralls is a Pensacola native and an avid supporter of military members and their families. Virginia graduated from the University of Florida and then came home to pursue her Master’s Degree from the University of West Florida (Go Argos!). While working full time and obtaining her Masters full time, she met and fell in love with her husband, another Pensacolian, James Ralls, who was active duty Coast Guard. They married and moved to Philadelphia with his new orders. A dream became reality when Virginia was accepted into the Drexel University School of Law in Philadelphia, PA. Eventually, they found their way back to Pensacola, where their son Vincent was born. Virginia now practices law with her father at Chase & Ralls, PLC, where she is the Director of Trusts and Estates. She uses her experience in law to help mothers and families navigate estate planning and probate. She believes Pensacola was a dream location to grow up, and she is now excited to grow her own family in this Western Gate to the Sunshine State.


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