Estate Planning – What is it and Do You Really Need it?

February 12, 2021

By Jane Chevalier

Estate planing…what is it? Isn’t it something reserved for people later in their life or wealthy people only? Don’t you have to own a huge property or large “estate”? Shouldn’t you wait until you have children? Do you need to wait until you are “settled” in your career? Isn’t your spouse automatically included in your will once you marry them? Read on to find out the answers to these questions, and why estate planning is for everyone! Especially if you are pregnant, or planning on being pregnant.

First of all, what is an estate? An estate is everything you currently own – cars, home, bank accounts, investments, life insurance, pretty much EVERYTHING you own (Wealth Counsel 2021). Estate Planning is ensuring that when you pass away, all of your possessions will be given to someone or an organization that you care about (Wealth Counsel 2021). Yes, it’s a little bit of a downer to discuss, but a VERY important one!

Other benefits to Estate Planning:

  • Protects your children, ensuring they will be placed in the proper guardians hands (YES, without properly stating this in a will, a judge will decide who your child goes to if you become incapacitated or pass away)
  • Protects the right of your special needs child and benefits they receive
  • Protects your assets, ensuring they will be inherited to the proper person or organization (believe it or not, marrying someone does NOT automatically mean they inherit everything you own)
  • Enables your spouse, child or loved one to have access to your bank accounts & investments
  • Ensures that your medical wishes will be carried out in the event you become incapacitated
  • Minimizes court fees, taxes and unnecessary legal fees

The benefits go on, but to keep it focused and simple, as a parent, these are the most important aspects. If you want to know more, I suggest you contact one of our favorite Estate Planner’s on The List.

Who should do it:

  • Everyone!
  • But especially those who have dependents

When you should do it:

  • As soon as possible
  • When you find out you are pregnant
  • Before your baby is born

Not to sound morbid, but honestly, you never know when death knocks. The sooner you can create an estate plan, the better. My husband and I created our estate plan when we were pregnant as part of our birth plan, to ensure that in the event something horrible happened before or during baby’s birth, we were protected. This is not a fun subject to discuss, but it is so IMPORTANT to. Plan for the worst, but hope for the best!

References

Wealth Counsel, LLC. November 25, 2020. “What is Estate Planning?”. Accessed February 12, 2021, https://www.estateplanning.com/what-is-estate-planning

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