As any mum will tell you, when you have a baby there are countless things that need to be prepared. From setting up the nursery and buying everything your baby will need, through to updating your health insurance and getting your child on a waiting list for childcare; there are so many things to be put in place to ensure your child is safe, happy and healthy.

But there is one thing which contributes significantly to your child’s wellbeing yet is too often left off a new mum’s to-do-list: estate planning.

Getting an estate plan as soon as your child is born makes sure they’re protected from the start of their life. If your children are a little older, don’t be alarmed – the process is relatively simple – you just need to get started.

By getting an estate plan done, you gain peace of mind. It will be one less thing to juggle down the road.

An appointment with a solicitor to make a will, establish a guardianship arrangement and execute a healthcare directive is really no less painful than a dentist visit.

Practically speaking, you should review it every few years to ensure that it still reflects your intentions, but it needn’t be a nagging concern.

Parents should consider making coordinating wills, so that children are doubly protected.

Guardianship

Who will take care of your children should something happen to you?

Guardianship is the single most important reason why young families should make an estate plan.

Many parents have informal agreements with family members or friends, but courts may not honour these or see that there is enough evidence that they exist.

Guardianship arrangements must be formalised. You should also consider how any assets you leave might be made available to guardians to be used for the care of your children.

While you are thinking about this, it would be an excellent time to review your insurance coverage to make sure that it is still adequate.



Longevity

Many mums assume that if the house and bank accounts are in both names, there is no need for a will. This plan only works if they are the first to die.

You should assume that both you and your partner will live long and happy lives, but statistically, women tend to live longer than male partners.

If you are in a defacto relationship, consider that jointly owned assets may not pass automatically from one partner to the other.

Health care directives

If you were to become incapacitated and unable to express your own desires about healthcare, you would want to minimise the burden on family members.

With an enduring Power of Attorney and an Advance Health Directive in place, you can make their lives easier by making your desires clear, now.

Assets and gifts

Do you want Mackenzie to get the silverware, Amelia the china and Henry the old photographs of your dad, whom he looks just like? Say so in your will.

Without a will, your belongings will be distributed in a fairly mechanical fashion that may not reflect special relationships with friends or relatives.

Informally arranging for specific gifts just tends to cause a quarrel at the funeral.

Five reasons you need to put estate planning at the top of your to-do-list:

  1. So you can provide for the guardianship of your children in the case of disaster.
  2. Because women tend to live a little longer than men.
  3. Because you do not want to burden your loved ones with critical healthcare decisions should you be unable to speak for yourself.
  4. So you can leave something for the people you love.
  5. So you can check it off and stop fretting.

So, put estate planning on your to-do list today.

Have you taken care of your estate planning?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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