If you have a baby on the way, probably the last thing on your mind is, “Oh my gosh! I need to revise my estate plan!”.
But if you have significant assets and especially if you have multiple children, creating a clear path for getting your assets passed on is not something you want to wait to do. Modifying your estate plan may be the last thing on your mind as you prepare for the new addition to your family, but as you look into the eyes of your beautiful baby, don’t forget that caring for and protecting your children, is a job that starts now, and never ends.
Estate planning for New Jersey, is similar to most other states in that a few things can happen if your new baby isn’t part of your plan when you pass.
- A long, protracted probate process where the state tries to determine the rights of the minor child in the absence of compelling documentation. This process will eat up your inheritance in terms of legal fees, court costs, and can take months and years to settle.
- Potential acrimony between your descendants. By “forgetting” to include a child in your estate plan, you create the breeding ground for ugly fights over money and assets.
- Care of the minor child upon your untimely demise may not be clear and may cause them to become a ward of the state, at least temporarily.
What Parts of my estate plan should be updated for Junior?
Having a baby affects not only your estate plan but many other potential aspects of your personal and professional life. Here are just a few basics
(1) know your breastfeeding rights (for jury duty and employment)
(2) put a will or trust in place with a guardianship clause
(3) put a guardianship agreement in place
(4) put an Advance Health Care Directive in place
(5) store your Baby’s Records in a safe place (birth certificate, social security card, and immunization records)
(6) set up your bank account to pay on death to your child’s guardian
(7) check that your Life insurance policy beneficiary is child’s guardian
(8) know your FMLA rights (Federal Medical Leave Act)
Done properly this documentation appoints a guardian to care for your minor children and details the complete distribution of your assets in the event anything should happen to you.
Can I do this estate planning myself?
Whether you already have some estate documents or need new advice and counsel on your plan, a good elder law attorney can help you insure your affairs are in order.
Note that Frank Campisano in addition to being an experienced elder law attorney, also has an extensive background in NJ employment law. Issues around estate planning and FMLA are no stranger to Frank and the team at SCC Legal.
Whether you would like to discuss some ideas for estate planning for your new baby, or how having to care for minor children affects your rights as an employee or employer, Frank Campisano is uniquely qualified to help you.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us today or visit our website at scclegal.com Discover why so many people rely on us for estate planning in New Jersey.
We look forward to hearing from you!