Legal Checklist for Expecting Parents

Volkova Law Group PLLC on August 21, 2014

Picking out names, books and tiny clothes in preparation for bringing a baby into your life is exciting and joyful. However, welcoming a new addition to your family can also be overwhelming and stressful. Not only do you have to think about the ways in which this new member of your family will affect your work, your income, your social life and your family dynamic, there are also very important financial and legal implications of child-rearing and parenting that need to be addressed.

So as not to feel overwhelmed once your baby is here, we have set up a legal checklist for expecting parents to help ease the transition into parenthood. By planning ahead, for your future and the future of your child, you can save yourself worry and stress later. We hope that this checklist will give you peace of mind and will provide a helpful place to start.

  • 1. Guardianship
    It is important to plan for the unexpected by naming guardians for your children, should you and/or your spouse no longer be able to care for your child. This may be accounted for in your will. We suggest that you also carry an identification card in your wallet that states that you have child(ren) and list the name and number of their guardian(s), just in case of an emergency.
  • 2. Birth Certificate, Social Security Number, Immunization Records
    Make sure to store your baby’s records in a safe place, and let their guardian(s) know where these documents are stored and how to access them.
  • 3. Health Insurance For Your Baby
    Talk to your employer, or whoever provides you with health insurance, to make sure that your baby will be covered, and for what.
  • 4. Life Insurance For Your Baby’s Protection
    You’ll want to speak with a financial advisor about obtaining life insurance options for you and your spouse to provide protection for your child if something were to happen to either one of you. Once you obtain life insurance, it is a good idea to speak with a trusts and estate attorney to have a testamentary trust set-up for the benefit of your baby.
  • 5. Retirement Accounts, Bank Accounts
    You should always have one copy of a statement from a retirement account printed out and kept in a safe place with your other important documents. With switching jobs, you and/or your spouse should make sure to have a solid understanding of how many active retirement accounts you have, and who the beneficiaries on these accounts are.
  • 6. Will
    Having a will, regardless of how wealthy you are, is a necessary legal document. A will maps out how your money, personal belongings and any other assets you may have will be distributed in the event of your death. This document will also ensure guardian provisions for your child(ren).
  • 7. Power of Attorney
    A power of attorney provides permission and instructions for your agents to make financial decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated.
  • 8. Health Care Proxy
    A health care proxy provides permission and instructions for your agents to make healthcare decisions for you, should you become incapacitated.
  • 9. Living Will
    The health care proxy is usually accompanied by a living will, which addresses end of life issues. In this document, you can specify for how you would like to be treated if you were not going to survive an illness or an accident.
  • 10. Trust
    If you have substantial assets, you may want to consider having a trust drafted to preserve your assets for your loved ones. For more information on trusts, please read our article, “How Do I Know If I Need a Trust.

Working with one attorney on all of these documents is a great way to keep all of your information organized and up-to-date. It also ensures that someone will be there to help your family, should the unexpected happen.

We recommend that you update your documents any time a material change in your life happens, such as another child, a marriage, divorce, change in income or death or incapacitation of a guardian for your child.

For more information, or to schedule a consultation to learn more about your estate planning options, please contact us, at elena@volkovalaw.com. We look forward to helping you plan for your family’s future.

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