At the beginning of parenthood, it can feel completely overwhelming. There's a lot to take in and the responsibilities seem endless.
With the chaos and excitement that comes with a new baby, it's easy to ignore something like your estate plan. After all, there are diapers to change and feedings to finish. Unfortunately, life doesn't pause and neither should your estate plan. Here are three reasons new parents need a will:
1). Settling guardianship of your child
It takes time to adjust to the minimal amounts of sleep and maximum amounts of spit-up that come with a new baby. It can leave a new parent feeling foggy and bewildered for long stretches at a time.
Now that you're a parent, the well-being of your child is going to be your priority. Part of that well-being means lining up guardians in case anything happens to you or the other parent. It's not a cheerful thought, but it's good to make a plan.
Simply having a document that names a guardian can go a long way in helping your child should the worst arise.
2). Naming power of attorney
Naming power of attorney is a great way to protect yourself and your child. It allows a trusted friend or family member to act in your best interests if you're unable to for any reason. This can be anything from making financial decisions to determining the best course of medical care.
Choose wisely, and make sure your choice is comfortable with your decision. By creating power of attorney, you can be assured your child will be taken care of and his or her best interests protected.
3). Designating inheritors
Too often people think only rich people need to create a will for their belongings. They try to procrastinate or simply ignore this aspect, and the courts are forced to determine where inheritance should go.
Don't leave your inheritance up to the court. Even if you don't think you have enough assets to create a will, it's worth investigating. Life insurance policies need designated beneficiaries. Any family heirlooms or sentimental items need to be bestowed to someone.
Being ready for "what if"
Of course, as a new parent, you may think your child won't need any of these documents for a long, long time. You're most likely right. But part of being a responsible parent is protecting your child from harm, and preparing for unforeseen issues.
The birth of a child is something to celebrate. It's also a good excuse to re-examine your estate plan and evaluate your goals. Don't leave your new child unprotected. If you're considering updating (or creating) your plan, an attorney knowledgeable in estate planning can be a great resource.