I Just Had A Baby. Do I Need A Will?

If you just had a baby, you should speak to an estate planning attorney. There are legal tools an they can use to help you plan for your child’s physical well being and financial security, and these tools can address situations both during your life and upon your passing.

How an estate planning attorney can help

Here are examples of when you might need an estate planning lawyer to protect your children’s well being.

  • If you become unable to manage your assets due to illness, then having the proper estate planning documents will help appoint someone to act in your place regarding your financial matters to ensure your child is supported.
  • If you go out of the country on vacation and leave your child with a family member, then an estate planner can prepare documents that will allow your family member to take your child to a doctor if they get sick or hurt.
  • If you pass away before they reach the age of 18, then you can name an individual or individuals to protect your child’s physical and financial well being.

What to consider when choosing someone for child custody and care

child stacking blocksWhen deciding who you should name to take on the care of your child you should consider all aspects of their life. Some things you should consider are how their values compare to yours, how they manage money, and who else will be living in the household in which your child will grow up.

First, think about what is important to you. Now, consider if the person you want to name finds the same things important and would raise your child to find those same matters important. You should have detailed conversations with those you name to take on the role of guardian regarding what values you want your child to have and your goals for them.

Take some time when you won’t be interrupted by kids or work to have a thorough and honest conversation with those you plan on naming as guardians. This also insures they will accept taking on this important role.

The role of physical and financial custodian does not need to be the same person. If you have a sibling who has a child close in age to your child and you want them to grow up together, but you have a friend who is money savvy and you trust them to manage the assets passing to your child, you can name both of them to the roles for which they’re best suited.

Protecting your child’s future

A family law attorney can discuss what financial steps you should take to plan for your child’s financial future, and can help you prepare for any related legal issues. Consider the following:

  • Have you updated your beneficiaries on common assets like IRAs, 401(k)s and life insurance policies to include your child?
  • Do you need to create a trust to handle assets if they are passed down to your child before they reach the age 18?

These are all questions an estate planning attorney at a law firm can help you answer.