Expectant parents often research what to expect during their pregnancy and baby’s early years, identify potential names for their child and set up a registry while they’re awaiting their newborn’s birth.
Estate planning generally isn’t at the top of expectant parents’ list of things to do, but it should be. There are several steps and several documents you’ll want to prepare as you await your baby’s birth.
Selecting an executor and drafting a will
A will is essential when you’re about to have a baby.
You’ll need to think about who to appoint as executor of your estate before you sit down to draft your will. That individual, if called to serve, would have various responsibilities such as settling debts with your creditors, filing your final tax return, preserving the value of the estate’s assets and investing them (if needed) and making sure that your heirs receive the balance. Executors must be trustworthy, responsible and financially savvy.
Appointing a guardian for your child
You and your co-parent should also take time to identify a guardian that you’d want to step in and care for your kids if something happened to you. It’s unlikely that making such a decision will be easy. You may want to observe a few candidates’ parenting styles to see which one is most like your own.
You may also find it helpful to assess how effective the prospective guardian may be in managing finances, especially if they’ll be receiving money from a trust intended to aid them in raising your child. It’s best if you discuss the role of a guardian with any prospects to confirm that it’s something that they’re up for before putting their name on an estate planning documents.
You may want to update beneficiary designations on any investment or retirement accounts and life insurance policies to ensure that they transfer to your kids. You may also want to set up a trust to cover your kids’ future expenses.
What to know about estate planning
The unexpected can happen at any point. You owe it to your future child to engage in estate planning now. This will protect your kids’ interests in the future.