Estate Planning Checklist for New Parents

Most new parents focus on baby-proofing their home, stocking up on baby essentials, choosing the perfect name, and scheduling the photo shoot for those first adorable pictures of their newborn. However, estate planning for new parents is also something that is very important. Your child is the most precious and important thing in your world.

As new parents, you want to ensure that you take every step possible to protect your child now and in the future, including having a solid estate plan. A Michigan estate planning attorney can help new parents develop an estate plan that takes care of their precious newborn.

Estate Plans Are Not Just a Plan in Case the Unthinkable Happens

Many people view estate plans only in terms of their death. However, estate planning can involve much more than drafting a will to distribute your assets upon your death. An estate plan is also about preparing for your child’s future and protecting your child if you or your partner become incapacitated. It is about choosing who would raise your child and who would manage your child’s inheritance if you pass away.

With an estate plan, you can ensure that your child will have everything he or she needs, including a safe, loving home with someone you trust. Without an estate plan, the court makes these decisions for you. Don’t trust a judge who does not know you or your child to decide your child’s future.

Estate Planning Checklist for New Parents

Even if you have a will or a current estate plan, you should review all estate planning documents now that you are parents. Your will and other documents need to be updated to reflect the change in your family. Below is a checklist to help new parents as they begin the estate planning process:

  • Name a legal guardian for your child. The guardian will have legal custody of your child. This person is charged with making legal decisions for your child and caring for your child’s daily needs.
  • Name a trustee for your child’s inheritance. The trustee manages your child’s inheritance until he or she reaches a certain age. You may choose when your child receives his or her inheritance. The trustee and the guardian may be the same person, or you may choose separate individuals for these roles.
  • Choose a personal representative for your estate. This person administers your estate and distributes your property according to the terms in your will.
  • Name your heirs. In most cases, parents leave their entire estate to each other and then to their child.
  • Choose beneficiaries for your life insurance policies, 401k accounts, annuities, and other accounts that pass directly to an heir without going through probate.
  • Choose a power of attorney to manage your assets and make legal decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
  • Consider setting up a living trust, testamentary trust, and other trusts to protect assets and provide for your child’s education and upkeep.
  • Outline your funeral arrangements. Making your wishes known can help take some of the stress away from family members as they make final arrangements after your passing.

Depending on your unique situation and circumstances, there could be other steps that you may need to take as you create an estate plan.

Don’t Feel Overwhelmed or Alone as You Contemplate an Estate Plan

For someone who has never considered estate planning, it may be a little overwhelming to determine all the various documents and steps needed to create a comprehensive estate plan. However, you do not need to tackle this job by yourself.

A Michigan estate planning attorney understands the steps involved in creating an estate plan and the documents required to protect you and your family. With the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer, you can create a plan that meets your goals and reduces the risk that important decisions about your child’s future will be left in the hands of a judge or a relative you do not choose to raise your child.

Contact The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry, CELA

Our Michigan estate planning lawyers assist parents as they create estate plans that protect their child’s future. As a new parent, we understand you may have your hands full. Therefore, we strive to make the process of preparing a will and other estate documents as quick and simple as possible.

Call 888-390-4360 or use the contact form on our website to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.

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