As we progress through the stages of life, our estate planning needs may change significantly. Young people with no dependents and little property may not need much in the way of estate planning, but once families form, it is time to start considering these issues seriously. For young parents, establishing some estate planning is an absolutely essential part of protecting their children and each other.
The single most important estate planning document for most young parents is a will. The will should clearly indicate how the parents wish their property to pass on and should choose who will care for their children if they both pass away while the children are still in the home or in need of care. If a parent does not spell these wishes out in clear detail, the executor of the will may have difficulty following his or her instructions. Contrastingly, if a parent chooses to not create a will, the court may simply take the decedent's property and distribute it some other way through intestacy guidelines.
Once parents establish their respective wills, it is wise to consider life insurance options. Even those with modest resources should still look at the options they have available to secure life insurance and make sure that the children they love have some kind of safety net to protect them if the unthinkable happens.
If you are a young parent without these estate planning tools in place, now is the time to review your priorities. As you build your family, you will face many obstacles and possibly some heartbreak. Taking time to prepare for those difficulties may be just the thing that protects your loved ones, not matter what the future holds.