Too Young To Do Estate Planning? Parents With Young Children Need It The Most

Posted by: Adair M. Buckner

The Fallacy Of Thinking "I'm Too Young To Need A Will"

Most young people cannot conceive that they might die in the near future. Younger people, particularly those with minor children, have as great or greater need to have a will as older folks do. Failure to take care of estate planning can cost 10's of thousands of dollars in expenses which could have been avoided.

family standing infront of purple trees and leaves

One of the most important functions a will serves is to provide for guardians of the person (actual care and custody) and of the estate of minor children, and to set up trusts to hold and administer any assets they inherit until such age as you determine they would be old enough to manage them on their own. 

If you don’t do this, and a tragedy takes both parents, a court-administered guardianship will have to be opened, and the court will determine who serves in these roles. These have been some of the most heartbreaking experiences I've been involved in my 40 years in law practice. It could so easily have been avoided.

The Con's Of A Court-Administered Guardianship

woman judge using gavel at her desk

  • You will have no say in which of these persons is appointed guardian of your children or their estates if you failed to make a will. It will be up to the court to pick from a list of eligible persons. Families can get into ugly contests over guardianships that divide them and destroy the family forever after.

  • Meticulous yearly accountings have to be done for money and property coming in, going out, and remaining on hand, and for the well-being of the child. Court approval has to be secured before buying and selling assets. Legal expenses in meeting all these requirements can be huge. A properly drawn will with trusts for minor beneficiaries until they reach a responsible age can avoid almost all of this hassle and expense. 

  • Court-governed guardianship remains in effect only until the child turns 18. The assets must be distributed to the child at age 18, whether that is what you would have wanted or not. We all know that not all 18-year-olds are ready to be in charge of their own financial destiny. With a testamentary trust (one set up in your will), you can determine at what age the child receives outright distribution. You can also specify that distributions made for education are dependent on obtaining certain grades, attendance, remaining drug-free, and the like. 

  • The legal and accounting expenses for administering a guardianship for children for any time will likely be $10,000 or more. If the child is very young when the guardianship begins, the total can run into the $20,000-$25,000 range or more. This money will have to be paid out of the guardianship estate and the child loses the benefit of this large amount of money. 

The Pro's Of A Preparing A Will To Provide For Your Minor Children

boy with coin infront of blue background

  • You can specify in your will who your choices (primary and alternates) would be if that worst-case scenario happens and both parents are killed.

  • You can name someone you believe is fiscally responsible as trustee for assets to be administered for your minor children. You can spell out specific guidelines for types of expenses you would approve on behalf of your children, such as private schooling, special camps or activities, and the like. The trust you set up for your minor children will be administered independent of court supervision unless someone questions the actions of the trustee. Yearly accountings are not required unless you so specify in the will.

  • You can specify to what age any assets remain in trust for your children - anywhere from 18 to 65+ - whenever you think they would have enough brains to manage on their own. You also can specify distributions at various different ages or life events.

  • The expense of drafting a will that includes guardianship and trust provisions for minor children is generally not more than $1,000 - $1,500. This compared to the outrageous expense of a guardianship should be compelling reason alone for parents with minor children to draft a will. Surely, most parents can budget for this reasonable expense. It will be money very well spent.

If you would like to request a free initial consultation* with Adair M. Buckner, Attorney At Law, about estate planning, please click below. 

*(The free consultation does not cover actual review of documents or giving legal advice on a specific situation.)


It was way past time to finally get our Wills completed. This was something that was extremely complicated for us, but Adair and her assistant never made us feel like we were bothering them...and we (I) bothered them...a lot! Things were explained to us in a way that we could understand easily. Extremely professional and knows her stuff!

- Darla -

Trying to get our LLC changed over after moving to Texas was complicated, but Adair Buckner made the process so simple! We just gave her the details, and she handled everything quickly and professionally. Thank you, Adair, for making this part of our move stress-free!

- Barbara -

We appreciate Adair Buckner’s professional and personable service. Our legal needs were met promptly and succinctly. We would not hesitate (and do!) recommend her to our family and friends.

- Kristine -

Adair was very helpful in guiding us through this process of creating our estate planning! She and her assistant were friendly to us each time we met them in their office. I would highly recommend Adair Buckner as an attorney of choice!

- Bruce -

I needed an attorney I could trust who could handle my legal concerns regarding my mother’s Living Trust. Adair Buckner firmly set things right. She was my voice when I had none and knew how to protect me in the midst of negative chaos. I recommend Adair to anyone seeking justice.

- Debbie -

It is a great pleasure working with Adair. She is very professional and genuinely concerned about your needs. I have complete faith and trust in Adair and will always work with here for my attorney needs.

- Danny -

Adair is our employment attorney at ROI Online. She is an excellent resource to turn to as we grow and add employees. Adair is not only extremely knowledgeable in her area of employment expertise, but she is also very accessible and quickly responds to our questions and requests.

- Steve -

When my husband passed away, I contacted the attorney that we had used to prepare our wills but was unhappy with his attitude of indifference. I discovered Adair Buckner and all of my issues were resolved. Adair is professional, compassionate, and extremely knowledgeable. She saved me a large amount of money by processing my will in the appropriate manner to best suit my situation.

- Susan -