Parents with a new baby have lots of new responsibilities. Your most important role as a parent is to provide a home for your children and to make sure their needs are met. This includes a plan for their care and well-being if something were to happen to you, and a current will is an essential part of that plan.
Here are three things that new parents need to know if they have an outdated will or no will at all:
1) A will is the only place where parents can make a legally binding choice of guardians for their children in the event of the parents’ deaths. It is especially important to designate guardians if you think there may be disagreements about choice of caretakers among family members, or you want to make sure your children have the continuity of remaining in their current community.
2) If you do not have a will, Georgia law states that almost all of the property passing through your estate will be split between your spouse and your children. If you have two or more children, the surviving spouse’s share of this inheritance would be only one-third, whereas the children would share the other two-thirds. This is contrary to the intentions of most people, who would want their husband or wife to receive and control the full inheritance themselves.
3) Any assets left directly to a child will fall under the child’s complete control when he or she reaches age 18. While a parent or guardian may manage a child’s assets when he or she is a minor, the child can spend as he or she wishes upon reaching age 18. When a parent wants to provide for a child, the better alternative is to provide instructions in a will that the assets will be held in trust for the benefit of a child (health, education, living expenses) until they reach an age when they can responsibly make decisions for themselves.
Before your baby is born, or after the frenzied newborn period has passed, take the time to put a will in place that contains the thoughtful choices that your child deserves.