Congrats, you're going to have a baby! The last thing you're probably thinking about is what would happen to your baby if something happened to you? But that's exactly what you should be thinking about even before you've given birth.
Creating a Legal Will
Having a last will and testament is vital in today's world, especially if you have children. While most people think wills are only necessary if you have lots of money or property that you'll have to divvy up among your relatives, the fact is once you have a child, there needs to be some sort of legal document (a will) that will spell out who will take care of your child if something were to happen to you.
Like most parents, you probably have a list of people you would absolutely not want to raise your child. So, it's in your best interest to seek legal advice in creating a will so your wishes are carried out.
You need to consider a few things when you draft a will:
- Appointing your spouse or partner as the guardian of your children in case you die.
- Realizing you could both die, in which case a guardian who will be responsible for raising your child needs to be appointed.
- Appointing a trustee, too. In many instances this is also the guardian of your children, but some experts say it's good to appoint a different person who could manage whatever property or income you have until the child is of legal age.
The Bigger Picture
Besides appointing someone to care for your child, your last will and testament should also include:
- All your bank account and investment information, including any possible pension or retirement funds.
- A list of outstanding loans, like mortgage, student and car loans.
- Titles and deeds to any property, including any vehicles and homes.
- The amount of life insurance you have, including the name and address of the insurance company.
You might also want to reveal where certain items are stored in your home. For example, is the title to your car in a certain drawer in the kitchen? You might want to place all necessary documentation in a folder and note its location in your will.
Worst Case Scenario
Obviously, the more organized you are with a plan in place to protect not only your first baby but any subsequent children is to prevent a worst case scenario from happening. If you don't have a will that spells out exactly how your child should be cared for in your absence, your son or daughter might be raised by someone who has been appointed by the state! That thought alone should have you start scribbling out a rough draft of your will. Then hire an attorney to execute your wishes.