What Young Parents Need to Know About Estate Planning

Bell Tower, Frederick, MD

Frederick, MD

Young parents are always on the lookout for dangers for their children. Yet many overlook the crucial area of estate planning. Even if you are healthy and have modest assets, a few legal documents can offer a enormous amount of protection for those that depend on you.

Here are the documents every young parent should have:
  1. Will. By drafting a will you can designate a personal guardian for your minor children should anything happen to you and your partner. If one parent dies, the surviving parent becomes the sole legal guardian. You should give careful thought to who should be in charge of raising your children should both parents pass. Grandparents are often the first thought, but it may be wise to consider someone closer to your own age to look after your children until they are 18.
  2. The other benefit of a will is to determine who will inherit your property if you die. If you don’t have a will, your spouse and children will split your property. If you are young and don’t own many assets, most of what will pass at your death may not be controlled by your will. If you and your spouse own your home together, the surviving spouse will inherit the home regardless of what is in your will. Life insurance and retirement plans will pass according to their beneficiary designations and are not controlled by your will in most cases. It is important to coordinate your beneficiary designations with your overall estate plan to make sure your spouse and children are provided for.

    The biggest mistake young parents can make is not doing any estate planning at all.

  3. Advance Directive. An advance directive lets you designate someone to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to, and specify your wishes for certain end-of-life scenarios. These documents make difficult situations easier by putting your wishes into words. They can save a lot of heartache and money by avoiding treatments that you know you would not want.
  4. Power of Attorney. This is primarily a disability planning tool. If something ever happens to you, the person you have designated as your agent in your power of attorney can manage your finances on your behalf. This is much easier than asking the court to appoint a guardian. In most situations in Maryland, a power of attorney is just as effective as (and much cheaper than) a revocable living trust for disability planning.

For most young couples, those documents will be all they need and it will be inexpensive and painless. A will can be written to be flexible enough to accommodate additional children, so there may not be a need to get a new one if your family continues to grow.

The biggest mistake young parents can make is not doing any estate planning at all. With these documents, you can provide security and stability for your spouse and children. If you’re a young parent and want to have these estate planning documents drafted, contact us today.

Montefusco Estate Planning, LLC is an estate planning law firm in Frederick, MD. If you are interested in our services, contact us today. This information is written for the context of Maryland estate planning but is not legal advice for anyone. For more information, read our disclaimer.

Montefusco Estate Planning, LLC
8133 Runnymeade Dr Frederick, Maryland 21702
Phone: 240-415-8323 URL of Map