When young couples start a new family, one of the last things they want to think about are all the estate planning issues that come with being a responsible parent. Questions like what might happen to you and your family if one of you becomes seriously ill or dies are not pleasant to think about, but they need to be addressed to protect your new family.
Today we are looking at specific issues that new parents, or those starting a new family, need to consider when it comes to estate planning.
Beneficiary Designations and Your New Family
One of the most commonly overlooked estate planning issues facing people with a new family is the question of who should you identify as your beneficiaries. If you have a life insurance policy, a payable-on-death investment or bank account, or other assets that allow you to name a beneficiary, you need to think about your selection if you get married or have a child. Before you might have named a parent, sibling, or some other family as your beneficiary. Now you need to consider if naming your spouse is a better option. If you think you might want to name your minor child as a beneficiary, talk to you your attorney about the legal implications of leaving property to a minor.
Incapacitation and Your New Family
If you become incapacitated tomorrow, does your spouse know what kind of medical care and treatment you want to receive? Do you want to receive life-sustaining care if suffering from a terminal medical condition? Have you discussed these issues with your family? If not, who will have the legal authority to make these decisions for you if you lose the ability to communicate or make your own choices?
Incapacity issues need to be addressed by everyone in your family. Whether you are young, old, healthy, or suffer from a serious medical condition, there are choices you need to make and incapacity planning tools you need to craft to protect your decisions.
Guardians and Your New Family
If you are the parent of a young child, or will soon be welcoming a new child into your family, selecting a guardian is absolutely essential. Making sure you choose the right person as a guardian, and then making sure your choice is legally protected, can take time and planning, but is something you need to do as soon as possible.