When adopting or having a baby in Florida, new parents are caught up with the excitement of a new family member. Amid this excitement, many often forget about the importance of providing for the child through an estate plan.
Begin with basic needs
The best way to begin estate planning and protect your new family member is to start with living documents that surround your personal needs. Name a person to become your health care proxy and grant power of attorney so someone can care for your child’s needs should you become incapacitated. Next, select a guardian responsible for the child’s custody and a trustee who takes care of finances. When determining guardians and trustees, you and your child’s other parent should have lengthy discussions about who is best suited for these roles. These discussions can begin even before your child’s birth to get the estate set up as soon as possible after the birth or adoption. In some cases, the guardian and trustee may be the same person.
Establishing post-mortem documents, such as wills and trusts, are also important. If one parent passes, the other parent will usually have complete access to all funds.
Other recommended documents
Estate planning needs involving minor children go beyond guardianship. While you may not have to set up additional documents and changes immediately, it’s a good idea to review them as soon as possible if something unforeseen happens.
Among the documents you should review or even establish are life insurance. Make sure your child will have enough money to live comfortably should you pass away suddenly. Appropriately title your investment accounts and set up instruments such as trusts as minors cannot own such accounts. You can also change designations when your child turns 18.