Have you recently added a member to your family in the form of a newly born or newly adopted child? Congratulations! Chances are that you’re thrilled, exhausted and more than a little concerned about doing right by your kiddo. This is completely normal and understandable. Unfortunately, it’s time to add something to your already overfilled plate in service of that particular concern.
If you have never crafted an estate plan, it’s time to start. If you already have an estate plan in place, it’s time to update it. While the process of drafting or updating an estate plan is likely something you don’t easily have time for, you need to make the time. As a new parent, a failure to engage in this effort could impact your child’s life forever if something terrible happens before you get around to this task.
What your plan needs to address
First and foremost, your plan needs to include a designation for whom you want to serve as guardian in the event that you pass away or become medically incapacitated before your child reaches the age of majority. Otherwise, the state will determine who raises them and that’s not a decision you want to leave in the hands of the state.
Second, you’ll want to “get your affairs in order” concerning your property and medical needs. Writing a will, naming a power of attorney and even crafting a trust can all make meaningful differences in the ways in which your future – and your child’s – may unfold in the event that the unexpected comes to fruition.
As your child’s parent, it’s your responsibility to care for them, even if you’re no longer around to accomplish that goal in person. Making sure that your child is taken care of in the event of your unexpected death or incapacitation due to illness or injury is a task that just can’t wait. The stakes of the situation are simply too high.