Posted May 2018
Newly married? New baby on the way? Here is why you should start thinking about estate planning now
Estate planning is probably not the first thing that comes to mind after you say “I do.” Nor is it the most likely topic of conversation as you and your spouse get ready to welcome a new child into the family. But these significant life events should prompt you to revisit your estate plan and make sure your growing family is prepared for the unexpected.
Start your marriage on the same page, financially
With any new marriage, it is important for both partners to get on the same page financially, including provisions for what happens if one or both spouses pass away. This likely involves updating beneficiary designations on any and all annuities, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts, in order to ensure these assets pass smoothly to the surviving spouse. Additionally, many couples opt for reciprocal wills, which leave most, if not all, assets to the surviving spouse before providing for both spouses’ loved ones in an agreed-upon manner.
Durable powers of attorney and healthcare proxies are also useful estate planning tools that are strongly recommended for all married couples. These documents give one spouse the power to make financial and medical decisions for the other in the event that one spouse is incapacitated, potentially sparing all parties significant hardship down the road.
Protect your growing family’s future
Welcoming a new child into the family is another important time to create or review your estate plan. Not only must you make sure that your assets are protected for the benefit of your growing family, but you should also be prepared for the unlikely event that both parents die while the child is still a minor. A comprehensive estate plan will include the designation of a guardian in such an event and will name a competent and trusted executor or administrator for the estate.
Couples with minor children may also add contingent trust language to their wills, in order to make sure any assets inherited by minor children are protected and distributed in a controlled manner. This type of provision prevents assets from being distributed in full to minors or to a guardianship supervised by the probate court. Rather, the minor’s inheritance is administered by a trustee and distributed to the child according to instructions in the will.
Consult with a New York estate planning attorney
Planning for unforeseeable events and worst case scenarios is not the easiest conversation to have, but it is a necessary one. Creating a personalized and robust estate plan will give you peace of mind knowing that your assets are secure and your loved ones are protected from the unexpected.
Our team of experienced estate planning attorneys will work with you to create a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your family’s needs.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our estate planning attorneys.