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Estate planning concerns for new parents

As a new parent, you probably do everything you can to protect your child. You may research the healthiest formulas and foods and avoid anything that could cause harm. When it comes to childcare, you are weighing your options carefully and thoroughly. Leaving nothing to chance, you may already have a savings account started for your baby's college tuition.

With all these precautions in place, have you considered what would happen to your child if a tragic accident or illness should take you away? Would all your plans and protections go by the wayside? Do you know how you can ensure your child will continue to receive the kind of care you desire for him or her?

What happens to your assets?

You may think of forming an estate plan as something reserved for your later years when you are close to retirement. However, nothing could be further from the truth. New parents may have even greater reasons to investigate the benefits of estate planning, even if it is simply to write a will. Your will can include more than just how you wish to distribute your assets, including:

  • Naming an executor to handle the matters of your estate during probate
  • Explaining your preferences for your health care at the end of your life
  • Outlining your funeral plans
  • Designating someone to be custodian of your children's inheritance

A safer way to provide an inheritance for minor children is to establish trusts. The trusts become the owners of the assets, and your instructions determine how and when the trustee disperses those assets to your children. You can fund the trusts during your lifetime or even name the trusts as beneficiaries of life insurance policies or investments. In this way, your children will not inherit money outright when they have no capacity to manage it or protection from others who may take advantage of their vulnerability.

Who will care for the children?

A critical goal of your estate planning is naming a guardian for your children if you should die while they are still minors. Choose a guardian is not an easy task, and you will want to discuss it thoroughly with anyone you may be considering. It may help to make a list of qualities you are seeking in a guardian and compare it to a list of potential candidates. Additionally, you may benefit from the advice of an experienced attorney who is well versed in Arizona estate planning laws.

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