One of the considerations often left out of the “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” guides for new parents is estate planning. No one likes talking about death especially at such a joyous time. However, just like learning the proper way to care for and nurture your child, estate planning is an important topic to discuss when starting a family.
An estate plan creates a financial and emotional safety net for your family should you pass away and ensures that your children will always be good hands no matter what happens down the road. So, in this post, you’ll learn about some key aspects of an estate plan for a new family and an extra measure that is not as critical but should be considered nonetheless.
Estate Planning “Must Haves” For New Families
When it comes to estate planning and new families, the following estate planning tools fall in the “must have” category:
- A will and designated executor,
- A legal guardian for your child,
- A revocable trust,
- Designated beneficiaries and
- At least two power of attorney (POA) documents.
Drafting a will and naming a legal guardian for your children should be your top priority when it comes to estate planning as a new parent. Sometimes parents think that naming a godparent in church satisfies the need to pick a guardian, but that does not always stand up in court. Guardianship designation is a legal process, and you must go through the proper channels to ensure that your child has long-term and short-term guardian should they need one.
Although drafting a will and naming a guardian are a big part of estate planning, the process does not end there. New parents will also want to make sure their estate plan places their assets in an appropriate trust vehicle in the name of their beneficiaries. A trust will help your heirs to avoid the probate process and other taxes consequences.
Similarly. parents should verify that they have named beneficiaries on life insurance policies, 401(k)s, and IRAs. These vital assets may be lost if they are not correctly allocated to your designated heirs.
Finally, estate planning for new families also involves planning for incapacity. Parents should take care to include a medical and financial POA in their estate plan. These POAs designate someone as your agent to make your financial and health care decisions should you become incapacitated. These are tough decisions that you don’t want your children to have to make with someone you did not authorize
Estate Planning “Nice To Haves” For New Families
Another aspect of an estate plan that isn’t as critical but will undoubtedly assist your family should you pass away, is making your funeral arrangements in advance. Spelling out your wishes in advance can help your grieving relatives pay for and make funeral arrangements according to your specifications. It can also lighten the load for a spouse left behind during an already tense situation.
If you are a new parent and need assistance with your estate plan, we are here to help. Send us a message or call us at (314) 454-9100.
Who is Steven Spewak?
Steven is an estate planning attorney whose client’s are confident and secure that they, their loved ones and their legacies are protected.
As an experienced attorney, Steven works with his clients in the areas of estate planning, trusts, probate, asset protection and business succession planning. He is known in the industry for providing exceptional client value and turn-key service.
Steven has maintained Martindale Hubbel’s highest preeminent AV rating as an attorney for more than 20 years, been recognized by St. Louis Magazine as a Five Star Wealth Advisor four times, and recognized by St. Louis Small Business Monthly as a top attorney for business owners to work with. Steven also regularly teaches continuing education courses in areas related to estate planning, asset protection and business succession planning to CPAs, financial and insurance advisors and other attorneys.