Of all the things to prepare for with a new baby, some big ones get overlooked. Many of the following pieces are passed over in planning for more exciting things like car seats, swaddles, and breast pumps. However, there are some ways to plan for the long-term security of your child.
Birth Certificate and Social Security Card
Two of the documents that prove the government that your child exists are a birth certificate and social security card. If you give birth in a hospital, both forms are provided in a packet by a hospital representative that can be filled out and collected before being discharged. To complete these forms, you have to have settled on your child's name. If you leave the hospital without completing these forms, it will mean an extra trip to the County Clerk's Office and the Social Security Office.
Will & Testament/ Living Will
Having a Will drawn up can be a hard moment for many, as it forces you to admit you will not be here forever. Also, doing this work is an incredible gift to those you leave behind in the event of your passing. Sadly, more than half of Americans do not have a will!
A will can be short or long, verbose or direct. However, long or short, it is helpful to those you leave to know what you want! Beyond your belongings and finances, the Will also outlines whom you wish to act as guardians of your children.
A Will allows you to be a part of the conversation after your death. Moreover, if there is confusion, a family judge will consider this if there are any familial conflicts.
Life Insurance Policy
Many professionals agree that for most families, getting your child a life insurance policy is not necessary, but there are some benefits, like locking in their "insurability" or an as an alternative form of savings.
However, most agree that if you are able, both parents should carry life insurance policies to help lessen the financial burden of their passing.
There are many options for insurance plans, and working through this process with a professional is helpful.
College Savings Plans
If saving for college is one of your priorities, it will be helpful to look into a 529 savings plan for your state. Many plans work like a Roth IRA, where they grow tax-free and can be withdrawn tax-free for expenses associated with school, like textbooks, room and board, and of course, tuition.
There are also 529 prepaid plans, where you can lock in the rate of tuition by paying part of the in-state tuition.
Other ways to help your children are to have clear conversations with the people who could be responsible for them in the event of your death. While having information written down is important, it is also important to let those in your family know of your plans ahead of time for your kids. As your kids get older, it is important to also include them into discussions about death and reassure them of the support of their network, family, and know you will still be helping to care for them after you’re gone.
If you need help opening up discussions, picture books can be a great way to start. Consider adding some of these titles on grief and death to your home library.