Writing a will is perhaps one of the most important things you can do as a new parent. Yet, being young and in the prime of their lives, writing a will is rarely something new parents think to add to their to-do lists. Such an oversight could prove costly.
In the early days of parenthood, the last thing you may want to think about is what would happen should you suddenly pass away. However, planning for such a scenario may be the best way to protect your child’s future security and well-being. Though U.S. News encourages you to consult with an attorney regarding your unique estate planning needs, it provides a few tips for creating a basic will that grants you long-term peace of mind.
Choose an executor
The executor of a will is the person who is responsible for ensuring that your beneficiaries and the probate courts uphold the terms of the document and, therefore, honor your wishes. Because this person has such a large responsibility, you want to select someone whom you trust but who is also responsible and detail-oriented.
One of the most common mistakes individuals make when creating a will is failing to update or name beneficiaries on key accounts they outline in their wills. Such accounts may include retirement accounts, life insurance policies, the deed to the home and bank accounts. It is important to note that beneficiary designations supersede those you name in your will. Make sure there are no inconsistencies by double-checking every account with your will and updating both regularly.
Appoint a guardian for your little one
The guardian you name in your will is the person who will love and care for your child should you and your child’s other parent suddenly pass away. Though you do not want to think about such a scenario — especially in the early days of parenthood — naming a guardian is the best way to safeguard your little one’s future health and happiness. While you need only to name one guardian, it is common practice to name multiple, just in case.
Attach a letter
Attaching a letter to your will may serve as a great way to say one last goodbye. It can also provide the opportunity to go into more detail about your final wishes, especially those that may appear more controversial than others.
Writing a will as a new parent should not be a task you approach lightly. There is a lot to consider, and a lot that goes into protecting your child’s future should you, for whatever reason, be unable to partake in it. For the peace of mind that every new parent deserves, consult with a skilled estate planning lawyer.