Summary: Parents, it’s your responsibility to make sure your children are provided for, even if it’s not by you personally. In our latest blog, Siedentopf Law discusses the importance of designating guardianship and distribution of assets in your estate plans.
When you are in the middle of preparing for a new baby, the thought of estate planning may be daunting. However, as a new parent or parent-to-be, it is your responsibility to make sure your child is provided for, even if it is not by you personally. If your Will does not reflect the needs of your current family situation, then now is the time to review your estate plan. (For more, see our blog on When to Create a Will). You want to make sure that you have the appropriate provisions in place for your new baby, as well as the rest of your family.
Your Last Will and Testament
There are two main issues to consider related to family additions and your Last Will and Testament: guardianship and distribution of assets. You want to make sure that your baby is taken care of in the event of your death, and that your property or assets pass to the correct person(s). In your Will, you can nominate a guardian for your child. There are Guardians of Estate, who manage your child’s financial affairs, Guardians of the Person, who care for your child, or, one person may fill both of those roles. It is important to note that if you do not name a guardian for your child, and both you and the other parent dies, then the courts will be forced to appoint someone (and that person may not be someone you would choose). So, it is a good idea to nominate a person in your Will who would be a good guardian for your child, and who is also up for the task.
Your Last Will and Testament can also control the distribution of your assets. When it comes to your baby, you can specify in your Will how you would like financial distributions to be made in his or her benefit. Any assets would likely be held in a custodial account, managed by the executor of your choosing, until the child reaches 18 years old. Alternatively, if you do not want your child to have access to an inheritance when he or she turns 18, you could also set up a trust account, managed by a trustee for the child’s benefit.
As your family expands, there are several other estate planning items you may want to discuss with your estate planning attorney. First, is making sure you have added the appropriate beneficiaries to your life insurance policies and retirement accounts. Second is to update your Health Care Power of Attorney – the person you designate to carry out your wishes in your Advance Directive for Healthcare (click here for more on advance directives). Third, you should also check your Financial Power of Attorney, who is the person you select to have authority over your financial assets.
Parenting is a role you will embrace for years to come, and therefore, planning for your child’s future is crucial. A large part of the planning process is being proactive – choosing the best guardian for your baby, and taking care of him or her financially. Once you have updated your Last Will and Testament, as well as any other estate documents, you want to revisit the plans periodically, to make sure they continue to meet your family’s needs. Doing so can provide peace of mind for everyone involved. For more information about estate planning, you can contact the Siedentopf Law via our website at EstateLawAtlanta.com or by calling us at (404) 736 – 6066.
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