Estate Planning for New Parents

How can I protect my child with an estate plan?

When your first child is born, your life changes completely.  Any new parent will tell you that they would do anything to keep their child safe, happy, and healthy.  As you cope with late night feedings, baby clothes, and mounds of diapers, it is likely that making an estate plan has not yet crossed your mind.  However, crafting an estate plan is a vital step towards ensuring your child’s security.  Our California estate planning lawyers at OC Wills and Trusts offer a look at why all parents need an estate plan and how you can get started today.

The Importance of an Estate Plan for Parents

Many of us overlook estate planning.  In fact, it is believed that fewer than half of all Americans have even a will in place. Without an estate plan, if you and your spouse pass away unexpectedly, your minor child could be appointed a guardian by the court whom you would not have chosen.  Even further, your estate may be decreased significantly due to estate tax.  Your child could be forced to wait for months and even years for the probate process to reach completion so that he or she can receive necessary funds.  To avoid much uncertainty and heartache, it is vital that all parents set up an estate plan that will protect their child’s future.  

Wills, Trusts, and More

You have several options when it comes to estate planning.  One of the most basic estate planning tools is a will.  With your will, you can name a guardian for your minor child.  You can also designate who you want to receive your assets and appoint an individual to serve as the executor of your estate.  No one should be without a will.

While wills are extremely important, they will not help your estate to avoid the probate process.  Probate can be time consuming and costly.  Estates valued at over $150,000 in California will need to go through probate.  You can avoid probate, or lessen which assets go through it, by using a trust.  In your trust, you can similarly set out who will receive what, but you can also include provisions to further govern the distribution of assets.  For instance, you can stagger what amount of money your child will receive based on his or her age.  Trusts are highly flexible, making them powerful estate planning tools.  Speak to your estate planning attorney today to discuss your options.