While no one is eager to think about and plan for his or her own demise, which is when these documents come into play, if you welcomed a new baby recently and don’t have an estate plan, then now is the time to create one.
SF Gate’s recent article, “Congrats on Your New Baby! Now It’s Time for an Estate Plan,” says that an estate plan is correctly thought of as a series of legal documents created with a qualified estate planning attorney that sets out your wishes for the disposition of your assets and the responsibility for your dependents, if they are minors when you die. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you should have a professionally-drafted estate plan.
For your children. Many experts say that this is the most important consideration. You’ll designate the person or persons you want to care for your minor children, in the event you and your spouse die unexpectedly. You can designate a single individual or family to manage your children’s financial affairs. This is also known as a Guardian of the Estate. You can also add another to care for your children (Guardian of the Person). The other option is to have one person or family member fill both roles.
For loved ones. Your estate plan will direct your loved ones how to make health care decisions on your behalf, in the event that you become incapacitated. This is a big responsibility for the person who is chosen, so be sure to clearly state your intentions in a Healthcare Directive.
For your things. We all have prized possessions that have little actual market value but would have large emotional implications were you to pass away. A proper estate plan created by an experienced estate planning lawyer will speed up, or may even eliminate, the probate process. This will save your heirs and loved ones time, money, and added stress and grief. If you have specific instructions for the disposition of your prized possessions and assets, detail the reasons in your estate plan to avoid misunderstandings or hard feelings among your heirs.
Thinking about the death or disability of yourself or your spouse can be extremely difficult, especially if you have just added a new member to your family. But proper planning will give you peace of mind by knowing that your children would be taken care of and that your wishes are clear. It will also make the process less difficult on those who you love.
Reference: SF Gate (December 22, 2016) “Congrats on Your New Baby! Now It’s Time for an Estate Plan”