Having a baby is a happy event for most couples, but it is one that comes with big responsibilities. One thing that many new parents might not want to think about is what will happen to their children if both parents pass away. While it is a horrifying thought, taking the time to make plans in case this happens can give you peace of mind to know your children have the best chance to continue on safely after you pass away.
Your estate plan is the key to taking care of your children if something happens to you. The plan should be comprehensive so that it covers many different aspects of the children's lives. If you are one of the almost 64 percent of Americans without a will or need to update a current one, now is the best time to handle this task. The following tips can help ensure your children are cared for if you aren't here to raise them.
Designate a guardian
Your children will need someone to raise them if you aren't here. You can designate someone to do this by naming them as the guardian. Make sure that this individual is able to handle the responsibility and that they are willing to do this. If you have more than one child, they can all have the same guardian, but you can also name a different one for each child.
Check financial accounts
Financial accounts have payable on death designations. This is whom the funds will go to when you pass away. Make sure that this is up-to-date on all financial holdings, including those for investments, life insurance and bank accounts.
Pass assets along
Use your will and trusts to pass assets along to the people you want to have them. You can use trusts to do this for your children as they meet certain milestones. For example, maybe you want them to get something when they graduate high school or get married. Trusts allow you to do this under the watchful eye of a designated trustee.
Make end of life plans
There is a chance that you will suffer an injury that incapacitates you. Having plans for someone to make your medical and financial decisions helps to ensure that your wishes are followed during this time. You can have the same person handle both duties or you can have a different person for each.
You can also set a living will to outline some of the basic medical care decisions you've made. Your doctors and others involved in your care can refer to this document when making decisions about your treatments.
Your estate plan should be reviewed periodically to ensure it still meets your needs and reflects your wishes. Even if you don't like thinking about these matters, these plans can give your children stability during a tragic time.