California Estate Planning Blog

Starting a Family? An Estate Planning Checklist to Help You Prepare

When most people think about starting a family, their minds jump to stroller choices, room decorations and baby names. 

On another level, they may start to plan for the financial responsibility that having children entails.  There are aspects of estate planning that need to be part of your larger financial plan, to ensure you are preparing for your new family in the best way possible.

How Can Estate Planning Help Me Get Ready for  a Baby?

1.  Make or Update Your Advanced Healthcare Directive.  Labor and delivery is one of the few moments when you can reliably predict a future hospital stay.  When undergoing any kind of medical treatment or care in a hospital facility, it is important for the doctors to know who should make medical decisions, if you are not able to do so for yourself.  In an Advanced Healthcare Directive, you have the opportunity to name the person or persons who can speak on your behalf, if due to some complication, you are not able to communicate.  This person could be incredibly important in a delivery situation, as any decision about the mother would likely impact the baby’s well-being. 

2.  Consider Naming Guardians.  You will spend nine months caring for your little one before he or she even arrives.  You probably already understand that providing for your child in every situation is an undeniable priority.  One of the most important decisions we can make for our children is who would raise them if some tragedy took us away from them.  Choosing guardians is far too significant to leave in the hands of a Court, and can be done even before you bring baby home.  For more information, see our Legal Guardian Nomination Guide.

3.  Create a Revocable Living Trust.  A revocable living trust is a legal structure which allows you to pass your property and financial assets to whomever you choose, under a clear set of instructions and with the assistance of a designated trustee to manage distribution decisions.  A revocable living trust can be made for the benefit of your current and any future children, even before they are born.  It also avoids the Probate Court process, which is lengthy, expensive and completely public.

The Advanced Healthcare Directive, Guardian Nominations and the Revocable Living Trust  are all part of a comprehensive estate plan, which is a wise investment for anyone starting a family. 

At LifeLadder Estate Planning, we offer busy new parents the option to complete their entire estate plan online, from the comfort of their home.  We have also crafted a Guardian+ Plan, specifically to address the needs of parents with young children in a family emergency.  To find out more about creating your estate plan with LifeLadder, watch our 10-minute introductory webinar below.

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