Estate Planning for Young Parents
Richmond, Virginia | Estate Planning | Attorney
Q. As a new mother, what estate planning documents do my husband and I need?
• You need to have either a Last Will and Testament or a Trust.
• You need to state a preference concerning the care of your children in the event of your death.
• You should consider an Advance Medical Directive and appoint a Medical Agent.
• You may need a Power of Attorney, depending on your circumstances.
Q. What Is a Will?
You may want to consider creating a will because this document states your final wishes. Without one, the court will make many critical decisions for you, including who will care for your minor children.
A will generally has instructions about what you want to happen to your property after you pass away.
There are also numerous other reasons to have a will, you can:
• Name guardians for your children and their property.
• Name an executor.
• Provide for your pets.
• Decide how your taxes and debts will be paid.
• Use it as a backup to any trusts you may have.
Q. What is a Trust?
Trusts are used to transfer property to your beneficiaries. However, unlike a will, your living trust is generally not subject to going through probate court. This is beneficial because probate court can go on for years.
Q. Do I need to name a guardian for my children?
Yes, you should name a personal guardian for your children, as well as an alternate. By doing this, if your first choice is unable to serve, your alternate guardian may.
If you decide on a couple to act as co-parents, name them both. By doing this they will each have the legal power to make vital decisions on your child’s behalf.
Q. When would I need a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a document that is used when someone wants another individual to handle his or her property and/or financial matters. It is crucial to have this document in place in case you are ever incapacitated or cannot express your own preferences. A Power of Attorney allows a family member/friend to step in and manage your affairs. Without one, your family could face expensive Court proceedings.
Q. What is an Advance Medical Directive?
If you are unable to state what you want concerning your own medical care, an Advance Medical Directive can do it for you. With this directive, you can:
State that you want particular treatments or procedures withheld or provided. For instance you can say that you would like artificially administered nutrition and hydration, but do not want to be resuscitated.
In addition, you can appoint an agent (see below) to carry out your wishes and oversee your care. This person would be given access to important medical documents and could speak freely with your physicians.
Q. What is a Medical Agent?
You can appoint someone to act as your medical agent to make health care decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to make these health care decisions on your own. If you do appoint someone as your medical agent, that individual takes priority in reference to your health care.
Obviously, no one wants to consider their incapacity or death. However, it is crucial that you do so in order to protect your family from possible litigation and to ensure that everything progresses smoothly. Once these documents are completed, you will hopefully not have to worry about them for many years to come.
Law Office of Ryan C. Young, PLLC | Richmond, Virginia | Estate Planning