Becoming a parent completely changes your life. Not only will your schedule and your budget shift dramatically, but your priorities in life and even the way you think will start to change.
Your children can be a constant source of worry, as you want to keep them safe. Not only do you have to childproof your house for their immediate physical safety, but you also need to plan for their long-term physical and emotional well-being.
Creating an estate plan is an important step for new parents, as it offers multiple ways for you to protect your children in the future.
Leave resources for your children in case something happens to you
At the very least, most estate plans will include a will or a trust that will arrange for the distribution of property to specific beneficiaries after someone’s death.
You can use a will to bequeath your assets directly to your children, but you may find that trust is a better option when your children are young. A trust makes it easier to prevent misuse of those assets by the guardian who will take care of your children.
Choose someone to provide daily care
you may have multiple family members who would happily step up to serve as a guardian for your children, it’s better to plan ahead and name someone of your own choosing in your last will. Planning ahead by naming a guardian ensures that the person who takes the role is someone that you trust and also that they know ahead of time about the role you hope they will play.
Put protections in place in case of your incapacitation
Your death would not be the only situation in which your children and your financial stability are vulnerable. If you get hurt in a work accident or suffer an adverse medical event, you may be hospitalized and unable to communicate for weeks.
Planning ahead will help ensure there is someone to care for your children until you can care for them again. Having powers of attorney will facilitate the management of your household and finances, as well as your medical care until you recover enough to speak on your own behalf.
Thinking about when and why your children would need support can help you draft an estate plan that will protect them and help you feel more secure.