Posted: February 22, 2016

I Just Became a Parent, Do I Need a Last Will and Testament?

            Yes.  Of course, that is the expected answer coming from a lawyer, but it is also should be the expected answer coming from a parent of any experience.  Writing a Last Will and Testament (hereinafter Will) allows the testator, you, to direct how you want your assets distributed and what steps can be taken to protect your family.  As a new parent that lack of concern regarding a Will is likely because as a new parent you may not expect to have anything in value or enough of anything in value to warrant taking the time and expense to draft a will.  As a new parent myself, I could not disagree more with that sentiment, because by definition all of us parents have children and drafting a Will is a great way to protect them if the tragic occurs.

            The alternative to having a Will, is not having Will, and that has consequences.  Notably, by not having a Will you are allowing the government to determine how to best administer your estate and protect your children.  For instance, you will have foregone the opportunity to appoint a guardian for your minor child to (a) take care of them emotionally and physically and (b) to manage whatever assets they are entitled.  Without a Will, the money that you were saving for your child’s future would be giving to your child at your death regardless of your child’s age, and if child is a minor at the time of your passing you would also not have a say on who would manage your estate on your child’s behalf.  A common sense way to ensure that your children are protected in way that you decide is to draft a will a name, recommend, or appoint someone you trust to take care of your children. 

            Additionally, in the Will you can create a trust for the child.  The trust can be established to pay for his education or medical needs.  You can determine when the trust terminates and who you may want to have in place to manage the trust.

            Although you may not have a lot of what is considered assets – home, investments, property- all parents have children.  And we all want to do whatever we can to protect them even after we are gone.  The first step should be consulting with your family and then a lawyer to determine what is the best way to protect your children if the tragic does occur.  Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have any further questions regarding drafting a Last Will and Testament or any other estate planning needs. 



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