Expert Advice from Dave Cardamone
As a parent myself I understand the value of having the freedom to make decisions that my spouse and I feel are right for our children. And I want to be able to make these choices on their behalf now in the event I'm unable to later.
When you are expecting, there are so many resources providing lists of everything you need. Diapers, Wipes, Bassinet, Car Seat, Baby Carrier (Hi Colugo!!)--and what seems like hundreds of other things. It is all centered around what YOU need to care for your child. But there are certain things that you need to consider that no one really talks about and are as important as anything else you need when you are having a baby–and these things are all about what your baby needs in the unfortunate event that you are not able to care for your child.
These things are (1) who will take care of your child in the event you are unable to and (2) how will your child be provided for in the event you are no longer alive.
As to who will take care of your child, you should set this up by establishing an Estate Plan. This will include, at a minimum, a Will, but also a Durable Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Directive and, possibly, a Family Trust. Within these documents, you can set up WHO will take care of your children, by naming a Guardian within your Will, and by establishing a Trustee to handle the assets that you leave for your children so that their needs can be taken care of, all the way through college and beyond.
But beyond identifying who will take care of your children you need to consider HOW they will be able to do so. And this means ensuring that there are sufficient funds available to take care of their every need, from food to housing to college. And the best way to do this is to obtain a life insurance policy that will fund the Trust you establish for the benefit of your children.
There is an obvious reason we do not talk about these things because they are not as fun or pleasant as picking out all the fun stuff for your baby, but that does not mean they are not equally, if not more, important. Further, taking care of these items now will provide you peace of mind, and the upfront cost will be much more manageable than the expenses that will be incurred by your family if you do not take care of these items in advance.
Dave Cardamone is Of Counsel at Buchan & Palo, LLC