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Are you a new parent? Take these 5 estate planning steps

As a new parent, your days are filled with changing diapers, making runs to the grocery store and finding time to catch up on your sleep. In between all of this, it's critical to review your estate plan with the idea of making changes for the better.

If you don't yet have an estate plan, creating a will is the first step you'll take. However, you can't stop there. There are other steps to take, with these five among the most important:

  • Name a guardian: Who will raise your children should you and your spouse pass on? Naming a guardian when your children are young is extremely important, as you never know what the future will bring. You want to have peace of mind in knowing that the right person will raise them if the worst happens.
  • Name an executor: This person is responsible for carrying out your wishes as outlined in your will. They're also in charge of the probate process, which can be time-consuming and complex depending on the details of your estate.
  • Choose your beneficiaries: Typically, the beneficiaries of assets such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts will be your spouse. However, this doesn't always hold true. You may decide to divide your assets equally between your children.
  • Create a durable power of attorney: Should you suffer a serious illness or injury, it's critical that the right person be able to step in and make decisions on your behalf. Most people name their spouse, as this person already has a sound grasp of both medical and financial related details.
  • Keep your will in a safe place: Creating a will is important, so don't store it in a coffee can on top of your refrigerator or under your mattress. It's a must to keep it in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box at your local bank or in a fireproof box at home.

New parents have a lot to think about, but it's critical to make time for estate planning. Block out enough time to take the steps above, as well as any others that will give you the peace of mind you deserve.

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