Most people associate estate planning with the later stages of life. Even those in their 30s, 40s and 50s might find excuses to continue delaying this important process. The truth is that anyone with major assets or dependent family members really should look into estate planning, as should anyone with medical conditions or a family history of certain medical conditions, like Alzheimer’s.
If you (or your spouse) is currently pregnant, this is a great time to sit down and create an initial estate plan. You will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your child will be safe and have proper care and resources regardless of what happens to you and your spouse.
Having a guardian in place means your child will never be alone
When parents name a guardian in their estate plans, they appoint someone to step in and care for their child if anything happens to them. A guardian will provide emotional and financial support for the children who have just gone through a tragic experience.
Still, choosing a guardian is complex. You want someone young enough to be around for your child’s indefinite future but old enough to have stability and the maturity necessary to parent. Family members and close friends are often on the shortlist of candidates. You and your spouse will have to consider people carefully and get their input as well before making a decision.
Your child will need financial protection if anything happens to you
A last will is probably the most straightforward and simplest way to leave assets for your children, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best solution. You need to consider the risk of financial abuse by caregivers who might use up all of what you leave behind for your child before they reach adulthood and have control over those resources.
A trust can be a way to structure the inheritance of your child in the way that there are resources available when they are younger but also limits on how much someone can use and what they can use them for.
Discussing the needs of your unborn child with an attorney and creating an estate plan will give you that much more security and confidence as you get ready to welcome your new family member.