While you prepare the nursery, make day care arrangements, and buy new baby clothes, your estate plan may be the last thing on the list of things to do before your newborn bundle of joy is born. This may be because you do not fully understand the breadth of protection an estate plan offers your family. This article seeks to address the key aspects of an estate plan for new parents, which include:
Designating a guardian for your child;
Setting up a trust;
Drafting up a Last Will and Testament that restates the guardian appointed;
Designating beneficiaries of your estate;
Electing an agent to serve as your power of attorney for financial matters;
Electing a health care surrogate as your agent to make health care decisions; and
Making funeral arrangements.
Naming a guardian for your child is a fundamental step to protecting your child from ending up with a guardian chosen by the courts. This may be done through a preneed guardian form and through your will. Your will should not be overlooked as that is also where you designate an executor of your estate and make burial requests. It can also help you handle the straightforward distribution of your assets. But that is not where your estate plan ends, drafting a trust to hold your property will take the burden off your family from having to go to probate court to administer your estate.
The beauty of estate planning is that is allows for flexibility with your family’s growth. The law presumes that you wish to treat children born after you drafted your will in the same way as you treated children you had while you drafted your will, unless clearly stated otherwise. Therefore, it’s not necessary to wait until all your children are born to plan your estate and designate beneficiaries. Naming beneficiaries of your trust is done through your trust document but there are many other beneficiary designations that need to be made to avoid the need for a court to determine where you would want those assets to go. For example, payable on death accounts, IRA accounts, securities investment accounts, and life insurance policies.
Powers of attorney and health care surrogate designations are documents all adults should have in place for emergency situations, especially for woman who are about go into labor. Although modern medicine has made it relatively less risky, these are still significant health care decisions that may need be made during the labor that require an agency designation.
In sum, if you are expecting a child, it’s important to speak with a Tampa Estate Planning attorney to begin planning your estate plan. A trusted attorney will give you peace of mind as you go into parenthood, a benefit that should not go untapped.