Gentreo Life Events: How to Update Your Estate Plan When You Have a Baby

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man holds baby so young girl can see

Bringing a child into the world is an incredibly exciting life event, however there are so many things that must be arranged and prepared in order to properly care for your new child. Between baby-proofing the house, buying diapers and other necessary supplies, and adjusting to the parent lifestyle, some very important steps can be overlooked, including updating your estate plan. 

There are many risks involved if you have not prepared an estate plan. Your children are your dependents, and rely on your estate plan to protect their future in the unfortunate event that you were to become incapacitated or pass away. In this terrible situation, important documentation like your Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, or Health Care Proxy ensures that your child has the care, finances, and security they need. These documents prevent the courts from appointing someone that you would not choose to raise your child, and protects your adult loved ones from being subject to lengthy and expensive court cases in order to manage your affairs. Documents like a Will allow you to make your child a beneficiary of your estate, so that you can ensure that they receive the assets you want when you are no longer there to support them. 

We know that protecting your child is a priority, which is why updating your estate plan is a must. According to a survey done by Caring.com, only 4 of 10 American adults have any estate documentation, and among those with children, only 36% have a plan in place. We cannot predict the future, but we can plan for it, and including your children in your estate plan ensures that you have the control that you deserve no matter what. Through Gentreo these steps are made easy and affordable so that you can spend less time worrying about the future and more time enjoying the present.

Steps to Update Your Estate Plan When You Have a Baby

Create / Update Your Will

One of the most important documents for you to have during this important life event is your Will. A Will not only protects you and your estate in the event that you were to pass away, but gives you the ability to protect your children. If you have no legal Will, the laws in most states typically determine children as beneficiaries to your estate by default. However, there is no guarantee that your child will receive the exact benefits that you would want for them. For example, if you wanted your child to be the sole beneficiary of your estate, or wanted to designate a specific portion to them, you would need to specify your wishes in your Will.

Add Your Child as a Beneficiary of Your Will

Your child should be added as a beneficiary on your Will. If you created your Will prior to your child being born, your child would not be named as a beneficiary of your estate unless your Will were updated. If something terrible were to happen, your child would be left with nothing, with all assets going to the family and loved ones which you had previously named as beneficiaries.

Name a Legal Guardian for Your Child

Creating and updating your Will gives you the ability to appoint a legal guardian for your child. This is a very important step, and ensures that your child is in the right hands if something were to happen to you and your spouse. You can assign anyone you choose, preventing any need for legal action to determine your child’s future. This saves your child and family from unnecessary stress during grief-stricken times, and prevents your child from being assigned a guardian that you wouldn’t have chosen yourself.

Create and Fund a Revocable Living Trust

A Revocable Living Trust is a legal estate document which allows a third party to handle assets and funds on your behalf. By creating this Trust and adding your child as a beneficiary, you are ensuring that they will have immediate access to the funds contributed to be used for funeral costs or anything else necessary in the event that something were to happen to you and your spouse. While a Trust isn’t for everyone, it can play an important role in protecting your child in the future.

Update Your Health Care Proxy & Power of Attorney

A Health Care Proxy is both an estate document and a person who is designated by your estate plan to make all health care decisions for you in the event that you were incapacitated and couldn’t make those decisions yourself. Similarly, a Power of Attorney ensures that your financial decisions can be made if you were unable to make these decisions yourself. A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to pay bills and handle your finances, preventing you from financial risk while you are incapacitated.

You can choose whoever you would trust to serve as a Health Care Proxy or Power of Attorney, and even have those decisions planned and ready if something terrible happened.

When you have a new child, you should consider reviewing these documents to make sure they’re up-to-date, and the person or people you have chosen are still able to serve if something happened. Having current documents will prevent your loved ones from needing to go through court in order to make these important decisions, saving them time, money, and stress during already grief stricken times. 

Having a child is a huge life event, and with it comes many life changes. At Gentreo, we know that protecting your child is the number one priority, and want to make sure that you have all the resources needed to ensure that they are prepared for anything. Gentreo makes it easy and affordable to create, update, and store your estate documentation. With the Gentreo Digital Family Vault, everyone knows where to turn in the event of an emergency and instant access is always just a few clicks away. Sign up today to give your children the protection they deserve.

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