Five Estate Planning Considerations for New Parents

Most new parents have become experts at planning before a baby is born.  They have created the nursery, planned for childcare and some have even started planning for the unborn child’s education.  All of that is great.  But don’t let your planning stop there – creating an estate plan is another essential you simply cannot overlook.

Here are 5 estate planning considerations you need discuss with an attorney when creating your estate plan as new parents:

Name a guardian.  While it is extremely difficult to even contemplate your child growing up without you, sometimes it happens.  By naming a guardian in your will, you will have done your best to protect your child should the unthinkable actually happen.  Remember that you can always change your mind about your choice of guardian, so don’t let waiting for some “perfect choice” to appear stop you from protecting your child.

Education costs.  The cost of a college education continues to rise, so you can imagine what it might be 18 years from now.  Start saving right away, through a tax-advantaged 529 plan or a trust.

Trusts and beneficiary designations.  Since a child under the age of 18 cannot inherit directly by law, you will want to consider establishing a trust and naming a responsible person as trustee to manage the assets for your minor children.  You also want to change any beneficiary forms on investment, retirement or bank accounts to include your new child.

Avoid probate.  A living trust allows you to avoid probate and have your assets pass directly to heirs.

Protect assets.  If your estate is large – more than $10.5 million – you need to consider asset protection strategies that will help you preserve and protect assets while minimizing the tax bite from estate and gift taxes.