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  • Daniel Rodriguez

Estate planning tips for new California parents

California residents are usually over the moon about becoming parents, and excited about all that goes into it. A less talked about step to becoming a parent is creating an estate plan to ensure your child is cared for should the worst happen.

Have living documents

Living documents address who gets to make decisions on your behalf if you cannot. There will usually be a health care proxy, who will make decisions about your health, and a power of attorney.

A power of attorney will make legal and financial decisions while you’re incapacitated. This is especially important because it means that someone can access the funds for your underage child during this time.

Picking a guardian

While your child is underage, your estate plan will need to address who takes care of them should you and your spouse pass early. The guardian will essentially raise your child, so it’s important to pick someone you trust above all others.

This person might also be a trustee, should you decide to set up a trust for your child. This person will pay your child’s bills and manage your estate until your child is 18 or financially responsible.

What happens if I don’t have this set up?

If you don’t have an estate plan set up with these guidelines, all of your assets and belongings will go through probate court and end up with whoever the court determines to be the next of kin. This could be grandparents, siblings, or other family members.

It also leaves it up to the state to determine where your child goes, which can be an additional stressful process for your young child during an already traumatic time. Setting up an estate plan early and revisiting it often can save everyone from this heartache.

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