Wills and trusts are essential tools to protect children if catastrophe strikes their parents.

Will or Trust Part 1: Considerations When It Comes to Your Children

Noah and Emma were moving along pretty well with their life plan – two adorable children, a home in a good neighborhood, minimal debt and some money in their 401-Ks.

Like most young couples, they worried about their children should the unthinkable happen – that both parents die at the same time. While they both enjoyed good health and a healthy lifestyle, Emma and Noah thought it prudent to know that their kids would be safe if catastrophe struck.

An LLC is the preferred way for many families to transfer ownership of recreational properties.

An LLC is a Good Way to Pass on Your Cottage or Cabin to Your Children

Fred and Mary had deeded their cottage on Houghton Lake to their three children as a way to pass along the property when it became too expensive to maintain as they entered retirement. But use of a deed to convey the cottage and lakefront to three people and their heirs became a source of friction -- the exact opposite of the family unity that Fred and Mary had hoped to create. (Link prior blog here.)

Their children Charlie, Nancy and Paul were enthusiastic at first about receiving a valuable recreation property for no initial cost, but they began to bicker about who would use the cottage during the prime summer season, how costs were divvied up, and even the cleanliness of premises after visits.

Don’t Pass Problems on to Your Children Along With Your Cottage or Cabin

As they were raising their three children, Fred and Mary had managed to scrape together enough to buy a cottage on Houghton Lake and use it regularly for summer vacations.

The family thoroughly enjoyed the property and decorated the cottage with mementos of all the “firsts” that happened there: first swim without floaties, first fish caught by all three kids, first teenage party and cookout.

About 40 percent of babies born in the United States are to unwed couples.

Birth Certificate Lacks Legal Basis for Paternity

It is becoming increasingly common in the United States for babies to be born to unwed couples - a little more than 40 percent of all births in this country were to unmarried mothers in 2014, compared with less than 20 percent in 1980.

That is a sobering statistic for single mothers because studies show they face greater economic challenges than married mothers. And both parents face significant legal challenges as well, largely due to a number of misconceptions about the birth certificate, custody and parenting time.