When you have a new baby, a visit to the estate planning lawyer isn’t usually very high on your priority list…. mere survival, not to mention sleep is at the top of the list! But really, though, it should be. As a mom myself and an Orange County estate planning lawyer I am very aware of how your needs shift with the addition of a new little one in the mix.
At its heart, we think of estate planning as a tool to provide for those who come after us. When you bring a new baby home, your thoughts and desires immediately move toward figuring out how to care for him or her. While that means things like weighing the pros and cons of using a pacifier or choosing between disposable and cloth diapers, and choosing the perfect stroller, there are some other “big picture” concerns that you should be considering now.
If you are still in the “expecting” stage and your baby hasn’t been born yet, then this is a great time to start getting all of your documentation lined up and ready to implement. We all know that things get pretty hectic once the new baby arrives, so it’s not a bad idea to meet with your estate planning lawyer while you’re still pregnant.
For those whose little bundles have already arrived, however, it is not too late. (It’s almost never too late to start your estate planning, really.) Once you’ve got your bearings and can take a deep breath, pick up the phone and call an attorney who has good knowledge in the area and who specializes in helping families with kids. (Many estate planning attorneys specialize in working with the elderly, and they miss many of the important aspects that parents with small children need to consider).
When you meet with the estate planning lawyer, you can expect to cover several topics that are very relevant to being a new mother. For example, you may be advised to consider acquiring a life insurance policy. This type of policy can provide financial means for your child should you (or your baby-daddy) dies unexpectedly. By putting together a trust, you can even create a plan for how you would like the money to be used and who you trust to be in charge of that money.
Estate planning doesn’t just have to be about you dying, either. A good lawyer can help to direct you on topics such as how to prepare for retirement and how to set up a college fund for your new baby. These are the types of things that are always better to set up in advance because they will have more time to accumulate funds for later.
Finally, the most important reason to set up a meeting with your estate planning attorney is to name a guardian for your child. Should the worst happen, you want to know that someone you trust will be raising your precious little one. This is not something that should be put off, because it is the only way that you get to have a say in who that important person will be.
One thing is for sure, getting your legal and financial ducks in a row feels great and brings peace of mind, and all the love in your heart that you have for that little one is the best motivation to get it all taken care of!
Darlynn Morgan is an estate planning lawyer at Morgan Law Group, a unique law firm that she created to truly make a difference in the lives of her clients.
She’s really good at making it easy for your family to talk about and plan for tough subjects like money, death and taxes. For more, you can Follow her on Twitter , Friend her on Facebook or check out her Blog. If that’s not enough, you can also find her on Linked In or Avvo.