Becoming a parent is a joyous occasion. However, with the emotional highs of this stage of life, comes the practical reality that it’s your responsibility to ensure your family’s health and safety. And while no one wants to think about how your family would be able to cope if tragedy struck, it’s important that you put a well-though-out plan in place to protect them.
For new parents and young families, the most important pieces of an estate plan are:
A Last Will and Testament is the primary tool you have for deciding how your family would be cared for if you die. If you’re a parent, having a will is especially important because it’s your only chance to name guardians for your children so you have a say about who would raise your children if you weren’t there. Without a will, the courts will decide what happens to your kids if you pass away. Parents often don’t want to think about this, but it’s extremely important that you document your wishes.
You can also name secondary and tertiary guardians in your will in case your guardian of choice passes away before you update your will or that person just isn’t able to take on the role of guardian when they’re needed. Your will also directs who will receive your money and property upon your death, and who you appoint as your legal representative (“executor”) to carry out your wishes. A common strategy used to make sure that there is money available for your children after you die, is to create a provision for a testamentary trust inside of your will. By doing this, money you leave behind would go into a trust for your children and you would appoint someone to be in charge of it for them.
Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy is a document that specifies who you choose as the person allowed to make medical decisions for you while you’re living, in case you’re in a situation where you aren’t able to communicate your wishes, such as a coma or prolonged unconscious state. This document can eliminate the need for courts to step in to make decisions that you may not have chosen to make.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney allows you to name the person you would trust to make legal and financial decisions if you’re alive but unable to do so. This critical estate planning tool can help ensure that your finances are managed properly and for your benefit. Efforts this person can manage include writing checks, paying bills, ﬁling taxes, and signing contracts for your care. The durable power of attorney is only effective during your lifetime.
A living will works in conjunction with a health care proxy by expressing your wishes as to how your designated agent should proceed in certain specific circumstances such as how and when you wish to receive medical treatment in the event of a terminal illness. For example, you can choose if you want or don’t want feeding tubes, CPR, or antibiotics. A living will provides your family emotional relief from having to make difficult decisions for you without knowing what your choices would be.
We can help create these documents for you, providing you with peace of mind. We can also help you review an estate plan you have to ensure that the addition of children to your family hasn’t dramatically altered your choices, which is often the case in many new families.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.299.6976 to set up a free meeting so we can ensure that you have an estate plan properly prepared that will protect you and your family in the future.