Estate Planning for New Parents

March 26, 2021

Many anticipated a huge baby boom resulting from pandemic lockdowns. Sociologist and demographer, Philip Cohen at the University of Maryland monitored the changes in family planning throughout the pandemic and found that the birth rate actually dropped. While not the huge numbers forecasted, Maryland is still seeing its share of new parents.

In the middle of late-night feedings and dirty diapers, asset protection and estate planning may not seem like a top priority, yet it needs to be. An estate plan can protect your assets and provide for your loved ones. Here are the Top 5 items that new parents should address:

1. Priority one is drafting and executing a will that names a legal guardian for your child(ren). A will also names an executor to handle the administration of your estate according to your wishes, outlines how property should be distributed to chosen heirs and provides guidance on your funeral and burial instructions.

2. Since your heirs will most likely be minors, you may want to consider including testamentary trust provisions in your will or utilize a living trust for assets that will be distributed to minors.

3. Next up is reviewing and updating your beneficiary designations on assets such as 401(k)s, IRAs, annuities and life insurance policies. If you named a spouse, you may still want to add a child as a successor or joint beneficiary.

4. Plan for incapacity as well as death by executing a durable power of attorney and a health care power of attorney. These documents take affect at such time as you are deemed incapacitated and unable to manage your financial and health affairs. The agent you name in these documents steps in and makes decisions in your best interests.

5. Finally, outline instructions for your funeral and burial. This may be done within your will or it may be a separate document. It can be as general or specific as you wish. It helps your next of kin know how to proceed and plan accordingly.

Being a new parent comes with new responsibilities. Having a comprehensive estate plan in place is one of those responsibilities. Do not put off this task. Checking it off your list will give you peace of mind. Contact the estate planning attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area to get started. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufflerlegal.com.

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