5 Legal Tips for New Moms
** Disclaimer: This is not LEGAL ADVICE.**
I am not yet a Lawyer, (& even if I was I would not give FREE LEGAL ADVICE, the letters J.D. come with a price tag- that degree wasn't free lol ) however I want to share some tips to help you protect your children's future.
This is especially focused on new parents, but it applies whether you are new parents, old parents or not parents at all...here are a few things you should really consider with a big life event:
- 1. Make a basic will. I'm not saying go out and get a lawyer (although it could make the process easier) but just make a basic will....I don't care if it's from WILLMAKER (I love Quicken products, and have heard great things about this one ) ---------------->
You may have legal insurance you can sign up for through your employer that covers a free will every year so go to your Human Resource department and ask. You may be thinking "I have no assets...why?" Well before law school I thought that too. If your death is by a sudden accident that involves a lawsuit, your estate may receive hundreds of thousands of dollars. Depending on your state laws, your spouse may not receive all of that money. It may go in part to you children, which means it could be tied up until they reach the age of 18 or 19, and your spouse may need that money for the next few years in order to help support the family. If you don't have children, the state laws could split that money between your spouse and your parents. A will also names guardians for your children(real God Parents), as well as someone to manage money for them if you and your spouse are both gone. Not having a will creates more problems and family disputes as your family may get into a heated court battle over all of these things.
- 2. Check your Beneficiary Designations. Anything you may have a beneficiary designation on, pull the documents out and check who the current person is. Whoever is named, gets the money. Things with beneficiary designations often are one of your biggest assets. (401K, Life Insurance, Bank Accounts) If you're like the average American, you'll likely put your spouse first, and as a contingent you can name your child or a trust.
- 3. Get a Durable and Health Care Power of Attorney. You may not know what these documents are, but its something I think everyone should have. A Durable Power of Attorney is a document that authorizes someone that you pick to make decisions about your property if you cannot act for yourself. The Health Care POA authorizes someone to make health care decisions for you if you cannot. It seems like a small thing, but it would be a huge hassle, extra money, and frustration if something happened to me and Noah couldn't get to all of our assets. If we were struggling financially due to a huge medical issue, the last thing he should be dealing with his not being able to liquidate assets if needed.
- 4. Get Life Insurance. Our first couple years of marriage, Noah and I decided there was no need to have life insurance. We had no mortgage, no real jobs, and both had personal savings. That meant if one of us died, the other would be just fine. There was no one relying on us financially. Boy have things changed! Honestly, I saw one too many GO FUND ME ACCOUNTS when someone our age died. It got me thinking, I don't want that to be the case with us, I want to secure our future and funeral expenses so our families don't have to worry. Now we have two children who are absolutely relying on us financially. That means we really needed life insurance because if something happened to one of us, the other would need financial assistance to care for our children. Here is how to know if you need life insurance on one or both spouses. Consider if the husband passed, how would the wife and child be financially? Could they get by or would they need help to continue the style of living you'd like them to have? How about if the wife passed? What if you both did? Even if you're not married, if you die will your children be financially cared for in your absence. Life insurance is a way to ensure future financial stability for your children in case of death. Although I don't work right now, we decided we needed life insurance on both of us because I will be working eventually. Also, life insurance premiums are lower while you're young and healthy - GET IT NOW.
- 5. Run credit reports. You should do this every year, but with a new child you'll want to continue getting your finances in order, so make sure to check your credit report for anything that shouldn't be on there. You can easily do this by using a free online resource like Credit Karma or Annual Credit Report. You're entitled to a free one every 12 months, per the FTC.
- BONUS-- Consider how you want to save for college, if at all. We've been doing a LOT of research on college savings. That being said, I firmly believe you should be saving for your own retirement first, and your child's college second. If you can afford to do both, do it. The earlier you start for both of these, the better. A few options for college savings are: Using your own Roth IRA account as a way to also save for college, a State 529 plan, or an Education Savings Account.
All of these differ, I will be writing a post on college saving plans in the future :)
There is also a great book on Amazon, that covers a lot of aforementioned stuff ------------------------------------------------->