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Estate planning for future children

When most people consider their estate planning needs, they do so in order to ensure that their loved ones are able to inherit as intended. Over time, the people on that list could change, as new children are born or other loved ones pass away. The best way to ensure that one's wishes are carried out as desired is to periodically review one's estate planning documents. There is another consideration, however, to which many in New Jersey have not given a great deal of thought.

Technology has given us the ability to conceive children without actually being present at the time of conception. By harvesting and storing sperm and eggs, individuals can pass on their genetic material long after the basic components of life have left their body. This ability can even extend beyond the lifespan of one or both of the parents.

While this is not an issue that affects many in New Jersey, it is an issue that can present a challenging estate planning problem for some. How can an individual make provisions for a child who his or her spouse may decide to have after one dies? The answer lies in careful and comprehensive estate planning.

In order to provide for a future child to inherit a share of one's assets, it is necessary to tailor estate planning for the possibility of a child born posthumously. It is possible to state a range of years that this provision will be in effect, or one can state that there is no time limit on the matter. However, if there is a chance that a child could be born a significant length of time after the death of a New Jersey resident, it may be easier to create a trust that divides assets between existing children and one or more who could be born after one's death. If such a birth does not take place within a specified period of time, the portion of assets set aside can be distributed to the other children.

Source: Fox Business, "Some Estate Planning is Really Complicated", Gail Buckner, Sept. 29, 2014

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