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How will having children affect your estate plan?

Once you create an estate plan, you need to remember to update it when specific things happen. One event that will require you to make significant adjustments is having a child. If you have more than one child, you will need to update your estate plan each time a new one is born.

If you die before your child becomes an adult, someone will need to take legal charge of them. Typically this role would fall to the other parent. Yet, if you and the other parent died at the same time, someone else would need to take on that duty.

Why you need to designate a guardian for your minor children

By naming a guardian now, you avoid leaving that decision up to a judge — one who probably doesn’t know your family or understand your children’s needs. Make sure you get the permission of the person you wish to name as guardian, first. You might also prefer to nominate more than one person — perhaps one to physicially look after the child and another to take care of the finances you leave. Remember that your child cannot control any assets that you leave them until they turn 18 years old.

Update your will and beneficiary designations

When you have your first child, you need to add them to your will. When you have further children, you will need to add them to ensure each child receives a fair share of your assets when you die.

If you have assets that require a beneficiary designation, you may choose to update this to name your child as a beneficiary.  Or, if your spouse or partner is the current designated beneficiary, you may prefer to leave things alone. Updating your estate plan is simple if you take the time to review it each year. Doing so ensures you can continue to look after your children long after your death.