If you’re making an estate plan as a new parent, you’re not just thinking about what would happen to your financial assets or your possessions. You can put them in a will, put them in a trust or take other steps to address these assets. But your main focus is likely going to be on your new child.
For example, many parents will choose a guardian. They can specify in the estate plan that, if something happens to them, this pre-selected person is supposed to take over caring for their child. This makes things go more smoothly because the court doesn’t have to get involved and family members hopefully will not debate over who should step into this role.
But if you’re interested in doing this, how do you choose the right person?
Age and ability
First and foremost, consider the person’s age and physical health. They need to be able to care for the child effectively until that child is 18 years old. This is why it may not be the best idea to choose the child’s grandparents, even though that seems like a natural fit.
Next, consider your parenting style and the values that you have. What goals do you have for your child? What type of home do you want them to grow up in? It’s important to pick someone similar enough to you that these goals can still be accomplished.
It’s not all about money, but raising a child is expensive. Be sure that the guardian you choose can provide for your child. You don’t want to choose someone who already has difficulty meeting their financial obligations.
Willingness and desire
Finally, it’s best to talk to the person you want to name as a guardian before you put them in the estate plan. You need to be sure that they are willing to take on this important role. Everyone should be on the same page from the very beginning.
Setting up your estate plan
Choosing a guardian is just one of the things you can do with an estate plan. Make sure you know what legal steps to take.