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Estate planning as a new parent

As a new mom or dad, you probably have a lot on your mind. Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments and just trying to get enough sleep, your plate is too full for more than the most essential items.

You may not consider estate planning important enough to make time for at this busy stage of your life, especially since you are young, your family is just beginning and you may not have many assets. However, laying the foundation for your estate plan now may provide more benefits than you can imagine.

The value of early estate planning

It is a difficult question to consider, especially now when the presence of your new child fills you with so many emotions and fears. However, do you know what will happen to your child if something tragic took you away from him or her? Who would care for your child? How would your child get by financially? What will happen to all the hopes and dreams you had for your child if you are not around to help them come true?

Estate planning can help you answer those and other questions and put a plan into place that will offer more security and stability for your loved ones in the event of your untimely death or incapacitation. Some of the elements you can include in your estate plan include these:

  • Selecting a trusted guardian to care for your child
  • Leaving instructions and guidelines for your wishes for your child's future
  • Providing a trust for your child's care and education
  • Drafting a will for the distribution and protection of your assets
  • Naming people to handle your estate administration and trusts
  • Establishing a power of attorney to handle your finances if you are ill and unable to communicate
  • Establishing a health care proxy who will speak in your name regarding medical procedures if you are incapacitated

You can also use your estate plan to outline your final wishes and funeral arrangements, including whether you want burial or cremation. Your estate planning attorney can assist you in ensuring your 401(k), pension, investments and other assets have proper beneficiary designations so your loved ones will not have the frustration and delay of dealing with the Pennsylvania courts to access the funds they need at a critical time. Once your plan is in place, you can revisit it frequently during your lifetime to keep it accurate and relevant.

An estate plan may not be as glamorous a gift for your child as a pony or swing set, but it can create a legacy that will bring security and peace of mind to your entire family.

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Stewart, McArdle, Sorice, Whalen, Farrell, Finoli & Cavanaugh, LLC

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