As a new parent, you’re focused on your bundle of joy and with so many things to do, estate planning for new parents is easy to dismiss. You may have already charted the course of your child’s life. But, have you considered what could happen if you can’t be there for your child?
New parents may feel uncomfortable at the thought of not being around for their little one or able to care for them. Despite the difficulties, don’t put off this essential step in safeguarding your child’s future. We recommend that all parents of minor children have a properly executed estate plan. Estate Planning is important for new parents because, without a plan, a judge may step in to make decisions that go against your wishes. The right time to think about estate planning, if possible, is now, while you still can.
You may wonder how to set up your estate plan. Whether you
choose a will or a living trust, these tools outline how you want your child
(or children) to be cared for and how to distribute your assets upon your
death. We can help you consider which documents suit your situation.
Among the issues to think about in your estate planning are:
1. Guardianship –
In case something happens to you or the other parent, you should choose a
guardian to raise your child. The guardian will care for and support your child
and make all necessary legal, medical, and educational decisions. Ideally, they
will have good character and share your values and parenting style. If you have
more than one child, especially a large family, you can choose more than one
person as a guardian for certain children.
2. Inheritances –
Under a children’s inheritance trust, you can control what your child will
receive and when. Typically, by law, this will happen when a child reaches
adulthood at age 18, but you can choose a different age when you think your
child may be mature and financially responsible enough to handle an
inheritance. If you will use a trust, you can appoint a trustee — the guardian
or another person — to manage your estate while your child is underage.
3. Your agent or
attorney-in-fact – A durable power of attorney lets you name who you want
to act on your behalf — often in financial matters — in case you become
incapable of doing so. Similarly, an advanced healthcare directive designates
someone to make medical decisions for you if you can’t do so yourself. When you
pass away, a power of attorney is no longer in effect. But your executor, if
you have a will, or your trustee (as outlined in a living trust) will represent
you on behalf of your estate.
arrangements – You can specify your final wishes. If you don’t, a court
could assign the duty to your next-of-kin.
When you consider a guardian or an agent, the person should
be willing, healthy, trustworthy, and capable of handling the responsibility.
Talk to your top choices to find out how they feel about taking on these roles
before you put your desires in writing.
Once you’ve planned for your estate, you and your family
will be on the way to a more secure future.
New parents are often busy. You don’t have to plan for your
estate yourself. Let our experienced and knowledgeable estate planning
attorneys advise you on the right course to take. To discuss your needs, contact us today.