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New parents should think about an estate plan

For new parents in the Kent area, estate planning is probably the last thing on their minds. But now that their lives include another person, this is a great time to think about planning for the future as unexpected tragedies can happen at any time.

When a new baby arrives, parents often don't think about their own demise. But everyone will die at some point and now that the family includes a child it is important to make sure all affairs are in order. And yet statistics say that up to 60 percent of Americans die without an estate plan.

When a person dies without an estate plan their estate is divided up based on federal and state laws and the courts decide who takes the children. Often times the division is against the deceased wishes. With an estate plan a person can control their assets and predetermine who receives them.

New parents should consider having a will which will break down assets and distribution. With a new child a guardianship should also be established. This will ensure that you decide who will take care of your children. An advanced health directive is also important. If a parent is no longer able to make decisions regarding their health, the advanced health directive will dictate important instructions regarding resuscitation, life support and other medical treatments. New parents may also want to look into setting up a trust to protect their assets and against heavy estate taxes and provide for their children into adulthood. If the children have special needs it is critical to make sure provisions are made for them in special needs planning as well. A special needs trust can be established that would provide funding in addition to the state benefits.

No new parents wants to think about what would happen if they die unexpectedly. But with a new child it is important to make sure that the child will be taken care of and provided for in the event of an unexpected tragedy. An estate plan can give parents the peace of mind that they have done everything they can to prepare for the unexpected.

Source:, "Estate Planning for New Parents," Gary Altman, accessed on Jan. 27, 2015

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