Problems Between Step Parents And The Children
Do you remember back when you were a child and Mom or Dad would read you a bedtime story? As you were tucked into bed, all sorts of characters and creatures would float through your imagination. Often, these stories held an important lesson or message for kids. However, there are lessons for adults in these stories as well. In today's episode of "Estate Planning by the Book", we will examine the story of Hansel & Gretel.
Classic folk tales often end with the conclusion "They lived happily ever after." That should be the same result for a properly prepared family estate plan.
Stepmother Does Not Like The Kids
Hansel and Gretel were brother and sister, who lived with their father, a woodcutter, and their stepmother. A famine occurs and their evil stepmother becomes concerned about not having enough to eat. She concocts a plan to leave Hansel and Gretel in the woods so that they will have two fewer mouths to feed.
After being left alone by their evil stepmother, Hansel and Gretel wander through the woods and find a house built of candy. Lurking inside is an old witch, who deceives them and traps them. Hansel is locked into a cage and Gretel is forced to do housework for the witch.
A Witch Takes Advantage Of The Lost Children
And the story goes:
Early in the morning, before the children were awake, the witch got up to look at them, and they lay sleeping so peacefully with round, rosy cheeks.
And she said to herself "What a fine feast I shall have."
Then she grabbed Hansel, with her weathered hand, and led him into a little stable and shut him up behind a grating. And call and scream as he might, it was no good.
Then she went back to Gretel and shook her crying.
"Get up lazy bones, fetch water and cook something nice for your brother. He is outside in the stable and he must be fattened up. And when he is fat enough, I will eat him!"
Gretel began to weep bitterly, but it was no use. She had to do what the wicked witch told her to do.
Fortunately The Children Escape
Eventually, Gretel outsmarts the old witch and the two children are freed.
Certainly this story presents a frightening situation for the children. However, we can use this story to illustrate the importance of protecting our children by having a rock solid estate plan.
If the parents became disabled or passed away today, how would the children be cared for? Would they be protected against dangerous predators like the old witch? Or would they be susceptible to manipulation by someone who is out looking to hurt them?
Let's take another look at the story from an estate planning perspective.
The woodcutter father would have gone to the village and drafted a trust with an experienced estate planning attorney. He could have funded the trust so that only his children would have access to it. In this way, the stepmother would not be able to take any of it. The children would not be deserted in the forest by the stepmother. And finally, the wicked old witch would have been able to trap them inside of her house of candy.
In summary, a trust can be a great way to protect your children and make sure that your wealth is passed on to them, rather than to deceitful predators. Trusts are very flexible and can be tailored to each family's unique circumstances.
An Attorney You Can Trust
Bill Peterson is a Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney with over 40 years of experience as a lawyer. He can help you plan for the future by creating a Minnesota Estate Plan. For more information, please visit http://www.mnestateplan.com or call toll free at 952-641-7312.
The contents of this article are for information only and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. For personal legal advice you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in probate law or estate planning.