The birth of your first child is one of the happiest days of your life. Between the excitement of buying baby clothes and the exhaustion of those early sleepless nights, estate planning is probably the last thing on your mind. However, making arrangements for your financial affairs in the event that you’re not around is one of the most important things you can do to provide for your child’s future.
If estate planning seems overwhelming, don’t worry. At The Law StoreTM, we’re here to take the guesswork out of estate planning and give you peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of after you’re gone.
Estate Planning Basics
Now that you have a child, you have a brand new beneficiary who you need to provide for in the event of your death. This means making changes to your current estate planning documents, or creating new documents if you didn’t have any before now.
Estate planning can involve any number of financial arrangements, but the most basic items new parents need to address include:
- The Executor – Every estate needs an executor. This is a person who is designated to oversee the process of distributing your estate. Naming a trusted executor will ensure that the other arrangements you put in place will proceed according to your wishes.
- The Will – When it comes to parents, the most important function of your will is to name a guardian for your child after you’re no longer here. Without a will, guardianship will be left up to the courts, and your child may end up in the care of someone you didn’t choose. The will also allows you to dictate how your assets are distributed after your death.
- Trusts – Many people opt to set up trusts for their children. When a parent passes away, a minor child cannot inherit money directly. Instead, someone must manage that money on the child’s behalf until he or she is of age. By creating a trust, you can designate exactly which assets are to go to your children, provide for how those assets are to be managed, and ensure that someone you trust is responsible for managing them.
- Designating Beneficiaries – You will likely want to name your child as a beneficiary on your financial instruments. First and foremost is your life insurance policy, which will provide financial resources for your child after your death. Other instruments with beneficiary designations include 401(k)s, IRAs, and bank accounts.
- Health Care Directives and Funeral Arrangements – It’s important to make clear what you wish to happen in the event that you become incapacitated, so this burden doesn’t fall on the shoulders of your young children. The same is true for funeral arrangements. By setting money aside and making post-death decisions in advance, your loved ones will not have to deal with making these difficult decisions during their time of grief.
Our Estate Planning Attorneys Are Here to Help
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to planning for your child’s future, and it’s understandable if you feel overwhelmed. The good new is, even if you haven’t done any estate planning yet, you still have time.
Whatever your wishes are for providing for your child after you’re gone, the experienced estate planning attorneys at The Law Store are available to help you determine the right options for your particular situation. Our Free First AdviceTM program allows you to meet with one of our attorneys free of charge to discuss how best to accomplish your estate planning goals. Book an appointment today by dropping by The Law Store, calling us, or scheduling a service online.