Estate Planning for New Parents

Yee Law Group Inc. > Estate Planning for New Parents

If you have recently become a parent, it is critically important that you either revisit your existing estate plan or you construct a new estate plan if you don’t already have one in place. Why should estate planning be at the forefront of every new parent’s mind? Without an accurate, current, comprehensive, and properly drafted estate plan in place, you risk leaving your assets, your end-of-life care, and even the guardianship of your child to a court’s discretion in the event that you become incapacitated by illness or injury or you pass away.

Courts don’t have the power to read minds. Neither do your loved ones. As a result, it is up to you and (if applicable) your child’s other parent to ensure that your affairs are both in order and are kept up to date at all times.

If You Have an Existing Estate Plan

As an experienced Roseville, CA estate planning lawyer – including those who practice at Yee Law Group Inc. – can confirm, estate plans function as living documents. This means that, with very few exceptions, the documents that you draft now as a part of your estate plan can be updated, modified, and even replaced as often as your needs, priorities, and life circumstances require.

If you have an estate plan in place, you’ll almost certainly need to formally update its contents now that you’re a new parent. An experienced attorney can help you to make changes in ways that the law will recognize as legally enforceable. You may need to name your child as a beneficiary of your property and various assets, name a guardian in the event of your unexpected death, and otherwise ensure that your existing paperwork is up to date. If you haven’t drafted all the estate planning documents that you’ll need to have a comprehensive plan in place—including power of attorney and advance healthcare directive documents—now is the time to fill in these gaps in your plan.

If You’ve Never Drafted an Estate Plan

Hopefully, you will live a long, healthy life watching your new little one grow. But if that is not to be, you need to have an estate plan in place in order to make sure that your child is taken care of in the event that you’re no longer in a position to ensure their wellbeing. Drafting an estate plan can be stressful. But leaving the Earth knowing that you haven’t provided for your child’s care? Contact a local lawyer to begin drafting a comprehensive, legally enforceable estate plan today.

Just started a family or planning to have a child soon?  While there are most likely a lot of things on your mind, one of the last things on the list (if it’s even there!) is probably estate planning.  However, it is absolutely crucial to begin estate planning if you’re a new parent.  Here are the top items to consider and reasons why estate planning is critical:

Nominate a guardian for your children.

Perhaps the most important of all, with minor children, you’ll want to to carefully consider who you would like to take care of your children should anything happen to you or your partner.  If you won’t name a guardian, the courts will appoint one in your absence; while they will try their best at nominating the best one they see fit, their decisions may not align with yours.  

There are a variety of factors to consider, as this person, ultimately, would be the one to raise your children.  Would they be able to financially care for your child?  Are they in good health?  Are they supportive?  Will your kids have to relocate?  And, of course, you’ll need to have a conversation with that person if they would even want the role, as it is a huge responsibility.

Creating trust accounts for your children.

By determining how you want your assets allocated in your will, you may prevent your heir’s inheritance from being in a court-controlled locked account.  Like a guardian, you can nominate a trustee, who will manage the funds, and ensure the money goes to things you believe are important, such as education, health, etc.  You can also determine at what age your child will gain full control of the assets in the trust; you may want to allow them to have the lump sum at 30 rather than 18.

Set up a durable power of attorney for both financial and medical decisions.

Should you become incapacitated, a Durable Power of Attorney appoints a person of your choosing to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf.  These can be two different people as these are separate realms of responsibility.  If you have not set up a durable power of attorney, the court will appoint a guardian for you.

Estate planning may sound like a daunting task, but your loved ones and children will thank you for it.  Hiring an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can put your mind at ease and help you finalize your documents.  

Contact Yee Law Group if you’d like to begin your estate planning process, either by filling out a quick contact form here, or calling our office at 916-927-9001 for a free consultation.