Welcome Home Baby: Protect Your New Baby with an Estate Plan
Congratulations on the newest addition to your family! Welcoming a baby is an incredible and life-changing experience, and as new parents, you are undoubtedly overjoyed. Along with the joy, however, comes new responsibilities and considerations that you must address as you embark on this beautiful journey of parenthood.
As your family grows, so does your need for careful planning and protection. One essential task that often gets overlooked during this exciting time is updating your Wisconsin estate plan. While it may not be the first thing on your mind when cradling your newborn, it is a critical task that needs to be at the top of your to-do list. Ensuring that your new bundle of joy is provided for and protected from uncertainty is a parental responsibility that cannot be ignored.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore why updating your estate plan after the birth of your child is essential, provide valuable tips on what to consider during this process, and explain various aspects of estate planning to help you secure your child’s future. Whether you’re a new parent or expanding your family, this guide will offer insights into protecting what matters most.
Welcome Home Baby: Why Update Your Estate Plan?
The birth of your child brings forth not only immense joy but also new responsibilities that require careful planning. To safeguard your child’s well-being and future, it is crucial to revisit and update your Wisconsin estate plan. Here’s why:
Welcome Home Baby: Designating a Guardian
One of the most critical aspects of updating your Wisconsin estate plan is designating a guardian for your child. In the unfortunate event that you, your spouse, or both of you become incapacitated or pass away, this designation ensures that your child will be cared for by someone you trust and who shares your values. Without a designated guardian, there could be infighting within your family, and the Wisconsin court might be called upon to decide who will assume this vital role, which may not align with your preferences.
Welcome Home Baby: Financial Security for Your Child
Updating your Wisconsin estate plan allows you to provide for your child’s financial needs in the event of your incapacity or death. You can establish trusts, designate beneficiaries, and determine how your assets should be managed and distributed for the benefit of your child. This includes considering life insurance policies, savings, and investments that can contribute to the long-term financial security of your child. Most importantly, you can work with your experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney to create a lasting legacy for your child, one that reflects your values and imparts your wisdom and wishes to them in the future.
Welcome Home Baby: Appointing a Trustee
When your child is a minor, you can appoint a trustee to manage your child’s assets until they reach a certain age or milestone. This ensures that their inheritance or assets are safeguarded and managed responsibly until they are mature enough to handle them. This role, if it is part of your overall legacy goals, can continue well into the future, providing protection for all your children.
Welcome Home Baby: Making Healthcare Decisions
Updating your Wisconsin estate plan allows you to designate someone to make healthcare decisions on behalf of your child in case you are unable to do so. This includes providing instructions regarding medical treatments, therapies, and end-of-life decisions. It is crucial to appoint someone who understands your child’s medical needs and can advocate for their best interests.
Welcome Home Baby: Education and Special Needs Planning
If you have specific goals or wishes for your child’s education or if your child has special needs, updating your Wisconsin estate plan enables you to incorporate provisions that address those needs. This may include funding a college education, creating a special needs trust, or setting aside resources for specialized therapies or services.
Remember, updating your Wisconsin estate plan after the birth of a child should be seen as an ongoing process. As your child grows, your family dynamics may change, and your priorities may shift. Regularly reviewing and updating your Wisconsin estate plan with your experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney allows you to make adjustments as needed to ensure that your child’s needs are met and your wishes are accurately reflected.
Welcome Home Baby: Essential Estate Planning Documents
Now that you understand why updating your estate plan is crucial, let’s explore some of the key estate planning documents that every new parent should consider:
Welcome Home Baby: Wills
A will is the cornerstone of any estate plan and a document that every parent needs. In your will, you outline who should care for your minor children should you pass away unexpectedly. It also addresses how you want your assets to be distributed and names a personal representative to oversee the settling of your estate. Not having a will can lead to numerous risks. Without one, the government may decide how your assets are distributed, who will take custody of your minor children, and your other wishes may not be addressed.
For example, if you have property or investment accounts, these could be distributed according to the default rules of your state. Additionally, any business interests or special trusts you have in place might be voided without a will, leaving your family with no clear direction on how to proceed. Finally, not having a will puts everyone involved in a financial and legal limbo that can lead to costly court battles, which could easily have been avoided with proper estate planning documents in place. If you do nothing else, having a will should be a top priority for any new parent.
Welcome Home Baby: Healthcare Power of Attorney
A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to designate someone to make decisions related to your healthcare should you be unable to do so yourself. It’s important to have this document in place before any unexpected health issues arise, as it ensures that your medical wishes are respected and followed by the right people.
The person authorized by the healthcare power of attorney (also known as an agent or proxy) must act according to the wishes outlined in the document and carry out any decisions made on your behalf. In addition, all other parties involved, such as doctors and hospitals, must legally recognize and obey any decisions made by the agent.
Welcome Home Baby: HIPAA Releases
A HIPAA release is a document that authorizes the use and disclosure of protected health information (PHI) to someone other than the patient. PHI includes medical records, test results, and any treatment information. By signing a HIPAA release, you grant permission for others to access your personal health information for purposes such as insurance claims, legal cases, or payment processing.
It’s important to know that HIPAA releases are voluntary and cannot be signed without your consent. The document must also contain specific details about what type of PHI is being released, who it’s being released to, and when the release was signed. Additionally, HIPAA releases expire after one year, so it’s important to have them renewed regularly to keep your PHI secure.
Welcome Home Baby: Trusts
Trusts are legal arrangements that allow individuals to place assets, income, and other property into a financial account for the benefit of another person or organization. Trusts are often used as a way for new parents to ensure their children have access to resources in the event of an emergency or some other type of unexpected circumstance.
When it comes to protecting and providing for their children, most parents want to ensure their children have all the proper resources available should something happen to them. Trusts can be particularly helpful in this regard, as they allow parents to set aside assets and money that can be utilized by the child while they are still minors. Setting up trusts also provides peace of mind when it comes to taxes, debts, inheritances, and more.
In addition, trusts can also provide guidance on how funds are used in addition to safeguarding them. Parents can specify how funds might be used, such as providing a college education or ensuring living expenses are covered until the children reach adulthood. Lastly, trusts offer many advantages that make them attractive even after the child has reached adulthood, such as preventing them from making poor financial decisions with their inherited money or protecting them during times of vulnerability.
Welcome Home Baby: Why You Should Work with a Lawyer When Drafting Your Estate Plan
Working with a lawyer when drafting an estate plan is essential for several reasons:
- Guidance: An experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance and advice, helping you make informed decisions about what should be included in your estate plan.
- Handling Legal Matters: An attorney can assist you in handling any legal matters or disputes that may arise after your passing.
- Beneficiary Designations: They will ensure that beneficiary designations, asset distribution, and guardian selection are properly documented and legally sound.
- Wills and Trusts: Attorneys have experience in drafting wills and trusts, two crucial documents that can ensure your desired outcomes are achieved while protecting your family’s interests.
- Understanding Local Laws: A qualified attorney understands all the laws related to your state’s estate planning, including tax laws and regulations. This ensures that everything is done properly and in accordance with local requirements, protecting both you and your beneficiaries from costly errors that could lead to delays in settling your estate or other financial issues.
In conclusion, as new parents, you want to provide the best for your child, both now and in the future. One way to achieve this is by updating your Wisconsin estate plan. This set of documents and plans helps protect you, your family, and your assets in the event of disability, illness, or death. It can also help you provide for your children if something were to happen to you.
A comprehensive estate plan not only includes a will but also details plans for guardianship for minor children, powers of attorney and healthcare directives, structuring of financial accounts, and potential tax benefits from trusts or businesses.
Secure your child’s future by taking this important step. Looking for an estate planning lawyer in Milwaukee or a nearby community? Contact Dahlberg Law Group today. We also offer virtual estate planning services for individuals and families across the state of Wisconsin.
For additional information on estate planning and resources, you can explore the following links:
- Family Estate Planning in Wisconsin (UW Law School)
- State Bar of Wisconsin – Wills and Estate Planning
By taking the necessary steps to update your Wisconsin estate plan, you can provide for your child’s future and have peace of mind knowing that their well-being is protected. Dahlberg Law Group is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to get started on securing your family’s future.
Don’t leave your will’s security to chance. Contact lawyers at Dahlberg Law Group to ensure your estate planning needs are met comprehensively.