Although it is an important part of estate planning, many people put off writing a will or taking any other steps for future planning. However, once children come along, it is imperative that parents begin to take some action.
There are various things to think about when it comes to providing for, and protecting, young children.
Writing a will
If you have not done so yet, it is time to write a will that outlines the division of your assets. You will also name a person to administer your estate after you die.
Naming a guardian
One of the first steps you should do is to name a guardian for your children. This person will take over the role of parenting in the unfortunate event both you and your spouse die. According to FindLaw, there are some factors to consider when you are thinking about who to name.
Naming someone with similar values and goals as you is helpful. This person should have attributes that fit the parenting role. Because children do better with the least number of changes, it helps if the person lives nearby or would be willing to move. The person should also have a stable income that is adequate to support dependents.
Planning for medical care
Although you do not want to think about you potentially being in an incapacitated state, it is smart to plan for the unexpected. The New York State Department of Health discusses the role of the healthcare agent. This is the individual you name to make medical decisions for you if you are unable. You get to choose how much authority this person has and what decisions he or she may make. You should be as detailed as possible in terms of what end-of-life treatments you would want so the agent can make decisions based on your goals and values.
Purchasing life insurance
If you have not yet done so, it is time to purchase life insurance to help provide for your family’s needs if you die. The amount you get varies based on your needs. You will need more if your spouse does not work outside of the home, and you should consider all future expenses including college tuition.