Q:

How can I ensure that the guardian named for my children has the resources to raise them well?

A:

You can make sure that the guardian that you’ve designated or selected, and the court has approved to serve as legal guardian of your children, your minor children, has the resources to raise them well by making clear and precise provisions in your trust to help the guardian. Perhaps the house they’re going to live in isn’t large enough. The trust may make provisions for lending money or gifting money to the guardian to expand their house to make it comfortable for your children.

Clearly, the instructions that you leave to the successor trustee must be clear enough so that the successor trustee knows how to provide for the guardian so the guardian provides for the children.

One last point: the guardian that you’ve designated is the person that has the legal ability to decide where the minor children will reside. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they will reside with the legal guardian.

And lastly, the guardian is appointed by the court. What you do is, you make a nomination in your will and the court ultimately will make the determination and enter an order, and give them the authority to serve as legal guardian for minor children.

Note: The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 signed into law in December 2017 increased the exemption amounts mentioned in these videos. The personal estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax lifetime exemption was increased to $11.18 million per person. The annual gift tax exclusion was increased to $15,000 per donee per year.

Both amounts are indexed for inflation and may increase year over year until December 31, 2025, when the law sunsets and reverts to 2017 values.