How to Create an Estate Plan for Your Minor Child

June 19, 2024 by Autumn Bryant

If you have a child, you certainly remember the first time that you left them with a babysitter. A list of emergency phone numbers was made, along with instructions for meals and bedtimes, lists of allergies, and even more. So why would you not create a thoughtful list of instructions for your child’s guardian should something happen to you long-term? 

We will address different options to consider in creating an estate plan for your minor child. 


Since the court does not have to appoint your first option for a guardian, it is important to always list back up options to fill this role. Your first choice for a guardian may not be able or willing to serve should the time arise as well, so making an educated choice regarding this position is important for at least two people to fill this role. If you would like more guidance regarding who to elect a guardian, please visit our previous blog, “How to Select the Appropriate Guardian for Your Minor Child.”



Minor children cannot own property on their own. Therefore, if assets are not set up in trust for them, you are likely forcing a Probate case to determine how the assets for your minor children are to be distributed and who will be a custodian or trustee of those funds. Things to consider in designing your estate plan: 

  1. Is your designated Guardian who you want to be in charge of assets for your child? They do not have to be the same person. The perfect caregiver for your child, might not be experienced in investing and managing money for growth to ensure that your child has assets long-term. 
  2. Do you want your child to have a lump sum of money in their sole control at the age of majority (eighteen years old in Indiana)? With planning, you could have a trustee manage the money for your child and add your child as a co-trustee at an age that you determine, so that they have guidance and education on money management and eventually they can be a sole trustee (again, at an age you determine) when they have gained more wisdom and life experience to manage on their own. 
  3. Do you want to leave protected assets for your child? Depending on how you create your estate plan, you could leave protected assets for your child (and adult children). Assets can be protected from creditors, law suits, catastrophic illness, and even potentially divorce. We do not know what the future holds, so it is always reassuring to leave assets that are protected. 



No one will raise your child the way that you would, but the next best thing is to leave instructions and guidance for your hopes and dreams for your child.  You can incorporate this into your estate plan for your guardians and trustees to help ensure that your child is being raised the way you would have hoped to. Here are some things to consider when planning for minor children: 

  1. Education 
    1. Pre-College Education 
    2. Extracurricular Activities
    3. College Education and a Plan for Tuition
  2. Visitation: Family Members, Supervision Preferences, Holiday
  3. Guardian Compensation 
  4. Religious Upbringing Preferences and Service Attendance 
  5. Safety Concerns: Automobiles, Firearms, Etc. 
  6. Counseling: Grief Counseling, Financial Literacy Education, Etc. 

You have your way and your hopes for raising your child through in life that the list above cannot possibly cover all of the areas that you would leave your intent. That is why it is important to sit down to discuss and memorialize instructions with your trusted estate planning attorney. If you would like to start this conversation, please feel free to reach out to us. We are always ready to talk and help guide you through these decisions.