As a new parent, whether by birth or adoption, the time has arrived for you to think about beginning an estate plan or updating your current estate plan if you already have one in place. Simply put, an estate plan consists of the legal documents your attorney prepares and you sign that manage your assets during your lifetime and then distribute them to your heirs at your death.
As Kiplinger explains, the fact that you now have a child to consider takes precedence over whatever mistaken beliefs you and your spouse may have that you are “too poor” or too young to think about estate planning.
Last Will and Testament
Most people think of a will as nothing more than the document that designates a person’s heirs and the things he or she wants to go to each of them upon his or her death. While your will certainly can serve this purpose, it can do much more.
For instance, you can use your will to specify who you want to finish rearing your minor children to adulthood if the unthinkable happens and you and your spouse both perish in an accident or other catastrophic event. Remember, you can change your will any time in the future that you desire. Consequently, should your children’s guardian designated in your will become unable to fulfill that role, or if you change your mind as to who will best assume those surrogate parental duties, you can always change your will’s guardianship provision.
While you think about estate planning, however, you may wish to consider adding additional documents. such as a medical power of attorney and a special needs trust if one of your children has special needs.