If you already have little ones or are expecting, NOW is the best time to make a will. Making a will ensures your baby is protected in any situation. It will expedite finding care for your child, keep them out of foster care, and get them into the loving arms of a relative faster. Don’t know how to make one? It’s simple, inexpensive and fast.
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What does a Will Specify?
A will allows you as a parent to designate the person that you want to raise your child if something happens to you. While you can ask a relative to be your child’s guardian, that conversation IS NOT legally binding until you make a will. The designated guardians for your child(ren) may have a difficult time legally assuming guardianship should something happen (this is especially true if the guardians are not close family members) so make the will today to prevent this from happening.
How to Make a Will?
Use an online program. We used Quicken WillMaker Plus. It was straightforward, inexpensive and easy to use.
Make TWO wills, one for each parent. This is better than having one single joint will. A nice feature of the Qucken WillMaker Plus is once you make one will, the program will duplicate it (switching the two parents names) to make the second will.
Make the wills official. Quicken WillMaker Plus adapts the will to your specific state and gives you instructions once you finish on how to make it official. Example: Signed in front of two witnesses who also sign.
What else should you have with a will?
You will want to set up a health care directive. A health care directive stipulates who can make decisions in the event of a catastrophic injury or illness that renders you unable to make decisions. If you do not have this, depending on the state you live in, it will automatically be your spouse, parent or sometimes even a doctor. You can set up health care directives in Quicken WillMaker Plus as well use the same duplicating feature.
Where to store your will?
Once your will is complete, printed, and signed, store the will in a safe place and ensure that the designated guardians know where it is. Many assume that the best place to store a will is in a safe deposit box, but this is discouraged as these can take some considerable time to access in an emergency which could lead to further turmoil for your kids.
Are you expecting?
Find out other ways to prepare before having a baby besides the usual registry.
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What have you done to ensure your kids are protected? Please share below in comments.
Dr. Trina Fitzpatrick is a wife, mom, blogger, and a breastfeeding advocate. She is the co-author of the Week-by-Week Bump Smart Course, the Nesting Planner and the Breastfeeding Handbook. She attributes her success at breastfeeding her own children into toddlerhood with working with lactation consultants in the hospital in the early stages and on a weekly basis afterwards. By writing at MomSmartNotHard, she educates mamas-to-be on all things pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Read more about Trina.