Many people mistakenly believe that an estate plan is just for distributing property. There are a variety of reasons why someone might want to create an estate plan. Documenting wishes for property distribution can be one of those reasons, but as a new parent, that may not be your chief concern.
As a new parent, the well-being of your child is likely your top priority. Although you may not have realized it, creating an estate plan can further that goal.
Consider the following three questions:
- Who will make your medical decisions if you unexpectedly become incapacitated?
- Who will take care of your children if you cannot?
- If you plan to leave assets for your children, who will manage these assets until your children turn 18 years old?
If you have not yet created an estate plan, you probably don’t know the answers to these questions. However, these are topics that your estate plan can address.
An estate plan can include one document or several documents. The documents you need may depend entirely on your situation and your goals.
For example, if you create a will, you can use it to designate a legal guardian for your children. This is likely preferable over allowing the state to decide who will care for them, since you understand your children’s needs and your family dynamics better than a judge could.
However, a will may not be able to meet all your estate planning goals. You may need to add additional documents, like a health care power of attorney or a living trust to your estate plan to meet your other goals.
As a new parent, your child depends on you, but unexpected events happen every day. By creating a personalized estate plan, you can help ensure your child will always be protected.