As with any significant life event, welcoming a new child is likely to bring about a host of preoccupations, many of which are unrelated to estate planning. However, it is still important to plan for a future that may seem so far away. It is your privilege to prepare your child for the life lessons to come; Make this part of your estate plan by including personal wishes and guarding specific preferences. Don’t just leave behind assets; Leave a legacy.
An estate plan allows one to plan for a variety of scenarios. In the event that your child is left with no legal guardian, one can voice their preference for guardianship in their will (also called a Last Will and Testament). If you pass away and a new guardian must be appointed, the preferences stated in your will are taken into consideration when guardianship is decided in court. This is another way in which an estate plan can provide your family with reassurance and peace of mind.
Inheritance is one of the primary motivators for creating an estate plan, particularly when children are involved. Parents are preoccupied with their child’s immediate safety and comfort as well as their long-term well-being. Some prefer to have more control over how assets are distributed upon death. For these individuals, a trust (revocable or irrevocable) is a viable option, because a trust can allow one to outline the method, time, and frequency that assets are disbursed to beneficiaries. It is paramount that one ensures the trust has been “funded,” meaning the ownership of the items in the trust has been retitled from your name to the trust.
Advance Directives/Medical Preferences
As it relates to your health and medical emergency preparedness, an advance directive is one of the most important elements of a comprehensive estate plan. It is normal to feel overwhelmed as a parent, or to fear that your health will decline, particularly in advanced age. However, you may find strength in taking a proactive approach and planning for the possibility of medical emergency or death. An advance directive allows one to state treatment preferences and appoint a healthcare agent, who is authorized to make decisions on one’s behalf. In moments of uncertainty, this can save your family and loved ones from unnecessary stress.