What Every New Parent Absolutely Must Know About Wills
Summer is rife with showers. Not water-related weather events, but celebrations for graduates, newlyweds and newbie parents. We love helping people plan no matter their station in life. But new parents hold a special place in our hearts.
With kids of our own, at Skvarna Law Firm, we understand parental compulsion to provide for your new baby’s future in every conceivable way. Infancy is a time for celebrating new life and sparks the need to organize and plan for every possible contingency. So, as soon as you get settled, or maybe even before your little one is born, consider taking a little time to make a will.
- Name a Guardian
As sad as it is to consider, if you and your partner pass away while your child is still a minor, the first issue that will need to be addressed is who will take on the responsibility for your child’s care. If you fail to name a guardian for your child in your will, the courts may answer this question for you – and the guardian they select may not be the person you would choose. For this reason, naming a trusted guardian is one of the most important decisions you could make.
- Name an Executor
To make sure your child receives everything you have allocated when he or she comes of age, choose a trustworthy executor. In many instances, people choose a family member to fill this role. But you might alternately appoint a trusted attorney to handle your estate. This is wise because attorneys do not have emotional attachment to the family. Believe it or not, when it comes to executing a will, this results in far less conflict than when emotions come to the fore.
- Name Beneficiaries
Many financial accounts require that you name a beneficiary. When you pass away, funds will be sent to the beneficiary named on the account. This is the case even if even if your states otherwise. If you’re creating a will for your children, review your investment and bank accounts with a financial advisor, who can eliminate beneficiary inconsistencies. Also, ask your financial advisor and attorney to check retirement account and life insurance beneficiary designations.
- Decide Between a Will or Trust
If you name your child as a beneficiary in your will, your wishes will go into effect immediately after you die. So, if you leave property to a minor child, the court will likely step in and freeze the assets until your child turns 18. Since most 18 year olds lack the maturity to responsibly handle even modest estates, we do not recommend willing your inheritance outright to minor children.
On the other hand, a trust would go into effect immediately after you create it. This would provide structure to manage the assets you leave behind, for the benefit of your child. An experienced estate planning attorney will be able to advise you about the best option for your family and your specific circumstances.
- Don’t Let the State Step In
Will, trusts and other estate planning documents are meant to be used as instruction manuals for executors and court representatives to follow. So, it is very important that your instructions for your children and others must be clear and consistent. If they are not clear or if instructions do not exist, probate courts will step in and enact the government’s default plans, which could lead to long delays. What’s more, these plans will likely not match the ones you would have made for your children and extended family. Providing for your baby’s long-term welfare may start with writing a will. But, for sufficient protection, meet with a competent estate planning attorney, like the ones at Skvarna Law Firm in Upland and Glendora. We’re here to help!
About Skvarna Law
Skvarna Law Firm operates offices in Glendora and Upland, California and provides legal services for individuals living in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside Counties. This includes the cities of Upland, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Colton, Rialto, Chino, Chino Hills, Glendora, Claremont, Pomona, La Verne, San Dimas, Azusa, Covina, West Covina, Diamond Bar, Walnut, La Puente, Corona, Norco & Mira Loma. Visit SkvarnaLaw.com to learn more.