The dual-career family lifestyle is common for many young families today. Striking a balance between work and family time can be a tricky task. Estate planning probably couldn’t be further from the minds of busy, newly married couples.
Young couples often put off estate planning for too long. However, young families need estate planning because their children depend on them.
Estate plans vary depending on family needs and circumstances. The following are a few things to keep in mind as you create an estate plan for your family.
Choose guardians for your children
The guardian will have legal custody of your children and will be responsible for raising them. This person will be responsible for every aspect of your children’s well-being — including food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care. Choosing a guardian now can assure if something were to happen to one or both of you that your children’s best interests will be honored.
This can be a difficult decision for parents, but it is imperative because if you have not named a guardian, the court would have to appoint someone without knowing your wishes.
Appoint someone to make financial and health-related decisions on your behalf
Having a durable financial power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney will ensure someone can manage your healthcare and finances when you are unable to do so for yourself.
Under California’s Health Care Decisions Law, spouses can assume healthcare decisions for another spouse in times of incapacitation. Regardless, it is prudent to appoint one another healthcare power of attorney.
Name your beneficiaries
If you have an IRA or a 401(k), you probably named a beneficiary when you set up your account. Life changes like a marriage or the birth of a child are reasons to review your beneficiary designation(s). If you initially named a parent or sibling as beneficiary, you will want to update your recipient to reflect life changes.
Just as your family will grow and change over time, so too should your estate plan. You will want to review and update your estate plan over time.