Bringing a child into your family means that you and your spouse will need to make many decisions. While a significant portion of those choices will likely revolve around the preparations needed to ensure that you can meet your child's immediate needs and that he or she will be comfortable and well-cared for, you will likely also need to look further into the future.
Future preparations do not only pertain to deciding which Ohio university or out-of-state college you want your child to attend. You will also need to consider what needs to happen and what you want to happen in the event that you and your spouse pass away or experience other serious issues.
Naming a guardian
In order to address these possibilities, it is wise to create an estate plan. The documents in these plans can coincide with your wishes for numerous scenarios that could affect your family. For instance, a top priority you may have as a new parent is likely to ensure that your child will have a loving and trustworthy guardian. You and your spouse can discuss this important decision and use your will to appoint your chosen person.
It is important to remember, however, that naming a person in your will does not entirely guarantee that your choice will obtain guardianship of your child. The court will take your decision into account, and if the court agrees, that person will act as guardian. On the other hand, if the court does not feel that your chosen person suits the role of a guardian, the court may choose another person.
Planning for incapacitation
Of course, situations could also arise in which you cannot properly care for your child for other reasons. In particular, you may not have the ability to provide care because you suffered a serious injury or illness that left you incapacitated. Even if your child is older if this event occurs, planning ahead for his or her sake is important. You can use your estate plan to indicate your wishes for care in certain health-related situations, and you can also appoint trusted parties to make decisions on your behalf.
This type of planning can ensure that someone has access to your funds in order to meet the needs of your child, and it can also help prevent your child, if at an applicable age, from winding up in the position of having to make delicate decisions on your behalf.
Thinking about the future can be fun and frightening, but no matter how you feel, it is important to have plans in place for the well-being of your child.