Adding a new member to the family can be a moment many years in the making. Especially for couples that do not have any children yet, a pregnancy can cause a drastic shift in perspective. While it is often only an intangible concept until the birth of a child, both expectant parents will become increasingly aware of all of the looming responsibility they will have for the life of a completely dependent and vulnerable new human.
The responsibility of parenting involves not just tending to a child’s immediate needs but also their long-term care and support. As a result, those who are expecting to have a baby soon will likely want to make the two estate planning moves below as soon as possible.
1. Selecting a guardian to care for the child
No one wants to think about their baby growing up without them, but that is the tragic reality for a tiny fraction of children. Situations like house fires and car crashes can lead to both parents dying at the same time and leave a child with no one to care for them.
Naming a guardian in a will is one of the most important steps for the protection of a child who will completely depend on the support of adults until they turn 18. Not only do parents need to choose someone compassionate and responsible, but they will need to discuss this potential responsibility with that person to ensure they can assume such an important role should the need arise.
2. Setting aside resources to support the child
Some couples expecting a new child will already have significant resources set aside to help provide for their child. Others will need to start thinking about college savings and other expenses in the near future.
For those that already have resources, it will be relatively simple to add those assets to a will or use them to fund a trust so that a child will have financial support if their parents die. For those without major resources for their child’s support, life insurance policies can be a key means of securing the funding necessary to provide for a child’s upbringing.
Either creating a new estate plan or modifying an existing one is a very important task for those who are about to add a child to their family. Don’t wait to seek legal guidance if your family is growing. Soon, you will likely be too tired to care much about this responsibility and it is one that you simply can’t afford to ignore.