When you first welcome new children into your family, your first thought is probably not changing your estate plan. Many parents, though, should take a second look at any already-signed estate planning documents or make a plan if they do not have one.
Incorporate Your New Child Into Your Estate Plan
First and foremost, you should revise your estate plan to include your new child. You may need to add his or her name to the will, create a new trust, set up a college fund, or designate a guardian. You also may want to prepare a letter of intent describing your child’s needs and routines as well as your hopes for their future, as many parents of children with special needs decide to do. That way, a guardian or caretaker would have some guidance in raising your child if you could not.
Younger parents often make wills solely to include the names of potential guardians for their children. If you were to pass away suddenly, the court would have a signed document indicating your preference for a guardian. Ultimately, however, the court chooses the appointed guardian.
Do You Have an Advance Directive?
It is a very good idea for parents of young children to sign advance health care directives, living wills, or medical powers of attorney. These documents share parents’ wishes for their own health care if they cannot make decisions for themselves. In addition, you can indicate end-of-life choices and appoint someone to communicate with the doctors for you. Signing an advance directive could save your family a lot of stress and conflict if you were to become very ill.
What About Life Insurance?
Parents of young children often choose to purchase life insurance. Life insurance policies can provide a ready source of cash for your children and/or your spouse if you passed away unexpectedly. It can replace your earnings during what could be a tough financial time for your family. Term life insurance is a popular choice for younger people. It lasts for a set term of years and is fairly inexpensive if you are in good health.
Planning your estate? Look to Janet Brewer, Esq. for thorough and thoughtful estate planning advice. Janet’s more than 20 years of legal experience will give you confidence and peace of mind. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206.