For new parents, this is an exciting time. Getting to know your new baby and learning how to be a new parent is simultaneously exciting, daunting and scary.
If you have not already updated your estate plan to include your new baby, you need to do it as soon as possible. Why? Because for your child, your estate plan is not just about money.
Not just about money?
Up until now, it is likely that other than some end-of-life designations and some power of attorneys for your spouse and executor, your entire estate revolves around what to do with your money and assets. And, while your estate plan should include these updated concerns for your child, the most important item is choosing guardians.
Should you and your spouse pass, the guardian (or guardians) step into your parental shoes. They take over as your child’s legal parents.
A guardian can be a single person or a couple. A guardian designation should also include backup people in case your first picks are not available. Sometimes, even if your guardians truly believe they want the responsibility at the time you choose them, when it actually happens, they may not be able to take on the responsibility.
Is it really that important?
Yes. Remember, without a guardian designation, your kids could become wards of the state until a Maryland family law judge appoints a guardian, who may or may not even be part of your family.
Now is the best time
Estate planning is just that, planning, and the best time to plan is now. If you pass without a full estate plan, you may leave your family’s fate in the hands of a judge.