You Need a Will.
You just returned home with your chubby little human in your arms and the house is stocked with diapers and baby clothes. What’s next? Call an attorney to draft your will.
It doesn’t sound romantic. It doesn’t sound reasonable (and hell, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, it doesn’t sound possible). Especially during this period of newborn delight, writing a will may be the furthest thought from your mind. But who will take care of your child if you or the other parent both die unexpectedly? Understandably, new parents tend to put off writing a will because they get caught up in their new roles as parents. On top of that, they’re not thinking about being sick or becoming incapacitate or worse. As the years pass, parents' focus on their tiny eat-sleep-poop monster in their arms continues to the walking-running-screaming-learning - whatever they're doing at this age - monsters.
Who will look after your child if you can’t?
If you die without a will -- a status known as intestate -- you leave it up to the state to decide who will take care of your child. New parents may name their own parents or siblings as the legal guardian in their wills. Some great considerations in making your decision:
Do you have confidence in the prospective guardian to raise your child as you would like?
Is your choice physically able to handle the job?
Does she or he have the time?
Does she or he have kids of an age close to that of your child?
Can you provide enough assets to raise the child? If not, can your prospective guardian afford to raise the baby?
Whatever you choose, it's important that both parents discuss these issues and decide before writing the will. If the parents struggle to communicate or can’t easily or naturally find agreement, consider the help of a mediator.
And yes, a will also specifies who will inherit the bank accounts, real estate, jewelry, cars, and other property after you die. You can leave everything to one person or divvy it up in small, specific portions, such as your video game collection to your brother or your sweaters to your best friend. A will is even more essential if you want to leave assets to a partner you’re not married to. Your live-in partner of twenty years could get nothing and be forced from your shared home. If you’re not legally married, a will can formalize your wishes so that your partner isn’t left in the dust.
Once both parents answered these questions, it’s time to formalize the agreement and draft a document with the help of a qualified lawyer.
Wills and estate planning are sensitive subjects. Like prenups, who wants to think about the worst case scenario during what is supposed to be one of the happiest times of their lives? My hope for you is that you are able to find clarity of mind and drum up the courage to prepare your partner and or children for the worst case scenario. Kate can help you create a will that will effectuate your wishes if the need should arise. Contact Kate for a consultation about your will. There's no fee to talk.