Being a new mother, you want to protect that baby’s future in every way possible. Many new mothers celebrating are celebrating new life and not thinking about making a will. Some new mothers are about control and organization when thinking of bringing new life into the world. No matter what kind of new mother you are, being ready for the future of your child is important to you. Having things ready to provide and protect your children should something happen to you, needs to be done. Below are five things every new mother should know regarding wills.
1. Naming a guardian could be the most important part of your will.
The first thing that is decided if you were to pass away, is who will care for your children. If a guardian is not named in your will, the courts will decide who takes on the responsibility of your minor children. That guardian might not be who you would choose. Choosing a guardian is more important than how your assets are used.
2. Name an executor you trust.
In order to ensure your child receives the assets you would like to receive, a trusted executor needs to be chosen. A family member can be appointed or an attorney can handle the estate. Since an attorney will likely have no emotional attachment to your family, it can keep away potential conflict.
3. Named beneficiaries on your financial accounts may override the will.
On most accounts, you can name a beneficiary that will receive any funds. This will happen even if your will disagrees. When creating, or updating a will with children in mind, be sure to review all investment and bank accounts with your financial advisor and attorney. Retirement accounts and life insurance should also be checked. All inconsistencies need to found and changed so your wishes are able to be fulfilled correctly.
4. A will is not always the right document for your goals.
If you pass away while your child is still a minor and your will left assets to your child, the courts will hold those assets until the child is 18 years old. Not all 18-year-olds are mature enough to handle even a small estate on their own. A trust may be a better document in this situation. It goes into effect immediately after being created and provides structure when managing your assets for the benefit of your child. Seek the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure you use the best option for your family and circumstances.
5. In the absence of clearly stated intentions, the state steps in.
A will, trust or other estate planning documents are used as an instruction manual for the courts and your executor. Be sure to be clear and consistent with your intentions regarding your child and others that may be mentioned. Probate courts will take over if your instructions are not clear or if you left none at all. This will lead to long delays and what you may have wanted probably will not happen.
The first step in providing for your baby’s future is to create a will but that may not be all you need to be completely protected. Counsel from an experienced estate planning attorney is