Most people tend to think of estate planning as something to start doing once you have a lot of money, or own a house, or are nearing retirement. While it is true that anyone in these circumstances should consider creating an estate plan, they are by no means the only ones who can benefit from one. One often overlooked group who should absolutely consider making an estate plan are new or expectant parents. Ultimately, one of the most important things that an estate plan does is help you plan for how you will provide for the ones after you have passed away or become incapacitated. What loving parent would willingly put off such an important form of preparation?
Apart from the components of an estate plan that deal with distributing your assets to your beneficiaries, an estate plan is also very important for new or expectant parents because it clarifies who will assume guardianship of your child and your end-of-life wishes, in the event that the unthinkable happens to you and your spouse. These are, of course, often not the things that any parent wants to contemplate, but being a good parent means being willing to undertake many uncomfortable tasks for the sake of the ones you love.
Of course, estate planning does mean dealing with complicated financial issues. If you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of making such longterm plans, consider the benefits to your family — namely, the time and money that having a plan will save once it is time for it to be used. Without an estate plan, the probate process can take months or years, keeping your family from having the resources they need to heal and even survive after you have gone. With a well-crafted estate plan, you may be able to complete circumvent the probate process, or at least greatly reduce it.
If you are a new or expectant parent, there are many decisions you'll be making in the coming months. Please, don't make the mistake of putting off creating a plan for your family's ongoing care. There is no need to feel overwhelmed — the guidance of an experienced attorney can help you understand the scope of all the relevant issues, and assist you in creating the perfect document for your family.