Friday, July 29, 2011

Estate Planning for Expectant Moms

It's July 29th, a normal Friday for most. Not for me, today is my daughter's 1st birthday. As my second child, I thought I would be more prepared than I was upon my son's arrival. But, my daughter had other plans. She arrived 3 1/2 weeks early, and has been a source of delight in our live ever since. Today, as we celebrate her first year, I am away from the office. I want to use this post to offer a few suggestions for expectant mothers in terms of estate planning...don't put it off, your little one may arrive before you think:
  1. Create or update your paper work now; life is calmer than it will be for the next year;
  2. Make sure you have a power of attorney for health care that allows your agent to act if you are pregnant;
  3. Make sure your power of attorney is on file with your physician, OBGYN, and hospital -- the doctor and hospital are usually two separate entities. Have these documents at your medical team's fingertips. Hopefully they will not be needed, but in case, make life easier by being organized and prepared;
  4. Complete a will and nominate a guardian for your child -- no one will replace you, but take charge and tell the court who would be the best option if the father is not able to act (i.e. common accident, deceased, or simply not a part of your child's life); and
  5. Review and update your beneficiary forms. If you have a testamentary trust (meaning a trust in a will) name the trust not your child. Keep copies with your estate planning documents.
These are 5 thoughts at the top of my mind -- anyone else have suggestions?

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