Virtually every adult, no matter how young and healthy, should have a will and possibly other estate planning documents. An estate plan, even a simple one, can save loved ones time, stress and money if something happens to you.
An estate plan lets you designate how you want your assets distributed. They may not appear valuable to you, but you never know what kind of emotional value they may have to family or friends. You can also designate whom you want to handle your estate and to make decisions for you if you’re unable to do so for yourself. With an estate plan, you can designate under what circumstances you want to be kept alive — saving loved ones that burden and conflicts that can rip families apart.
If all of that isn’t enough to convince you to have an estate plan, the birth of a child should. Many Californians don’t consider drafting a will or other estate planning documents until they have a child.
One of the most important considerations for new parents is who will take guardianship of their child if both of them should die. This may not be an easy decision, and people’s feelings may get hurt. However, it’s one that needs to be made. Of course, it’s essential to make sure that whomever you choose is willing and able to take on that responsibility.
Often, the people chosen to be guardians are also the ones chosen to manage the money you leave for them. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can designate one couple or individual to care for your child and another one to manage his or her money. Of course, it’s important that those people get along and will work in tandem to do what’s best for the child.
Developing an estate plan, particularly when there are guardianship issues for children involved, can involve some difficult conversations — not just between the couple, but with family and close friends. Experienced California estate planning attorneys can help guide you through these.
Source: NerdWallet, “Congrats on Your New Baby! Now It’s Time for an Estate Plan,” Brian McCann, Dec. 22, 2016