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Due to Father’s Day, June is a month that many Florida residents may think about their families. One of the best ways for a father to honor his family and provide what they need is to develop a comprehensive estate plan to help provide for children if anything should happen to him.

Many experts will recommend gathering important documents to begin estate planning as soon as a man becomes a father, if not as soon as he learns that the mother is pregnant. That way, if anything unexpectedly happens to the parents, there will be a plan in place for who will raise the children. Devising a plan also allows the father to choose the person that will monitor any assets chosen for the children. If these decisions are not written down or discussed in advance, the state will decide who should raise the children and control any assets, which could result in a different outcome than what a person would have chosen.

An estate plan includes many different documents. A Health Care Directive gives a person the ability to share medical wishes when unable to verbalize them due to a medical condition. A HIPAA Release allows doctors to discuss treatment with a third party. A Power of Attorney for Asset Management gives someone the ability to handle a person’s financial affairs if the person becomes unable to do so. A will or living trust explains how assets should be distributed in the event of death.

Estate planning is essential for parents, to ensure that children are properly cared for if the worst should happen. A local attorney may be able to help parents determine their goals, choose a guardian and draft estate planning documents that meet their specific needs.

Source: Forbes, “The Best Gift Dads Can Give Their Families“, Michael Chamberlain, June 13, 2013