Estate Planning for New Parents

what new parents need to know about estate planningWhen you are expecting a baby, it is an exciting time filled with anticipation, joy, and planning for the future. However, one thing that many new parents or parents-to-be often overlook is the importance of a will or estate planning before you bring that precious baby into the world.  After all, you want to ensure that your child is protected, and provided for, in the event of the unexpected. In this article, we will explore why estate planning for new parents and grandparents is so important for you and your new baby.

Protecting Your Child’s Future

As a new parent, your number one priority is likely your child’s wellbeing. Estate planning can help ensure that your child’s future is secure in the event of your untimely passing. This means creating a will that outlines who will take care of your child and how your assets will be distributed to provide for them.

Without a will in Maryland, the courts will decide who gets custody of your child and how your assets are distributed. Godparents are not a legal way of determining this.  This can lead to family conflicts, lengthy legal battles, and potentially, your child being placed in the care of someone you would not have chosen. By taking the time to create an estate plan, you can avoid these potential problems and ensure that your child’s future is secure.

Choose a Guardian Not a Godparent

Many families choose a Godparent when they have a baby, but in the eyes of the law, a Godparent is not a legal designation.  While you can certainly choose a Godparent, you will also want to establish a legal guardian who will be responsible for your child’s physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing, and you want to make sure that you choose someone who shares your values and will provide the best possible care for your child.  Often, the Godparent and Guardian are the same, but you want to consider the pros/cons of such choices, from a legal standpoint.

When you create an estate plan, you can appoint a guardian for your child in the event of your untimely passing. This can give you peace of mind knowing that your child will be taken care of by someone you trust and who you know will have their best interests at heart.

Protecting & Preserving Assets

Creating an estate plan is not just about protecting your child’s future; it is also about protecting your assets. When you pass away, your assets will be distributed according to your will. Without a will, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of your state, which may not align with your wishes.  By creating an estate plan, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. This can include setting up trusts for your child’s education or other expenses, ensuring that your family home is passed down to your child, and protecting your assets from creditors or legal disputes.  It can also help you provide for their long-term needs such as college, a wedding, or first home.

Don’t DIY

Don’t cut corners on this important process.  Although it can be tempting, an 0n-line will or DIY estate plan can be easily contested and may not provide the proper protections needed for your partner, spouse, or child.  It’s not an expensive process to have an estate planning attorney draft a will or estate plan to ensure that your wishes are carried out.

Unmarried Parents May Be At Higher Risk

If you and your partner are raising a child together or apart, it’s even more critical to have legal documents that outline your wishes.  This is where a legal instrument and estate planner can provide sound guidance.

Planning for the Unexpected

No one knows what the future holds, which is why it is crucial to plan for the unexpected. Estate planning can help you prepare for unexpected events such as incapacity or illness.  By creating a power of attorney, you can appoint someone to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This can ensure that your wishes are respected and that your assets are managed in your best interests.

As you can see, estate planning is essential for new parents. It can also be a great gift that you can choose to give to your children or your grandchildren. By creating an estate plan, you can ensure that your child’s future is protected, choose a guardian, protect your assets, and plan for the unexpected. While it may not be the most pleasant thing to think about, when new parents take the time to create an estate plan can provide peace of mind and ensure that your child is taken care of, no matter what happens in the future.

If you’re interested in more information on this important topic, download the free legal guide for single adults or the family planning checklist.  Or, reach out to us and schedule a discovery call.