Becoming a new parent is a life changing experience, and caring for a child is an awesome responsibility as well as an amazing joy. Among the many things for new parents to do to provide for their children is to complete their own estate plan. This is the time to think about your child’s future by asking an important question: who will care for your child if you become disabled or die?
The most basic estate planning tool is a will, which enables a person to determine how his or her assets will be distributed after death. Without this important estate planning tool, the state’s intestacy laws will govern how these assets will be distributed. In addition, decisions about who will care for any minor children will be made by the court. For this reason, it is crucial for new parents to have a will to name guardians of their choice for minor children.
In this regard, selecting guardians involves a number of important considerations. Obviously, it is important to name individuals who are emotionally and financially capable of raising a child. At the same time, a will can also establish a trust that provides funds to be used to provide for the child’s needs. Ultimately, guardians should share the same moral and spiritual values, and childrearing philosophy of the parents.
In addition to naming guardians in a will, it is also critical to plan for the possibility of incapacity by creating powers of attorney and advance medical directives. A durable power of attorney allows a new parent to name a spouse, or other trusted relative or friend, to handle personal and financial affairs. Further, an advance medical directive or health care directive, designates a trusted person to make medical decisions in accordance with the parent’s preferences.
Finally, new parents should also obtain adequate life insurance to protect the family. The proceeds from an insurance policy can replace lost income, pay household and living expenses, as well as any debts that may have been owed by the deceased parent. It is also important to ensure that beneficiary designations on any retirement accounts are up to date so that these assets can be transferred expediently.
In the end, having a child is a time of joy, but also one that requires careful planning. Total Estate Planning can help you navigate the process and create an estate plan to protect your family and provide the ultimate peace of mind. If you are ready to get started, contact us today.