Monday, January 31, 2011

Does Having Another Baby Mean You Have To Change Your Will?

by Mama D, JD

The following was written by "my Canadian friend" (as I've come to jokingly call her) and professional colleague, Michele Allinotte of Allinotte Law Office in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. And because my three children have had me hopping busy with all the recent snow days (read: no school or daycare!), I asked and Michele kindly agreed to allow me to repost it here for you.

I've noticed recently that more and more families are having three children (or more!). Some friends and clients have added to their families in the last couple of years and some will be having a new family member arrive in the next few months. Thinking of all the changes they will need to make led me to consider whether or not they need to change their Wills.

When I meet with clients to do their Wills and Powers of Attorney, I always talk about when they should review or make changes to their Wills. There are some events in life that should make you ask if the plan you made still "works". Some of these events are marriage and divorce, death of a close family member (or a person named as a beneficiary or executor), and, also, adding a new family member.

While you may not have to change your Will as your family grows, you certainly should think about it and perhaps review it with your family (and your lawyer) after getting the happy news.
Some things that you would need to think about when reviewing your plan are:

  • Did your Will name your existing children or did it talk about your "issue"? If your existing children were named, it is possible that your Will may not include another child. If you aren't sure if your new child would be included in your Will, you should see your lawyer to make sure
  • Hopefully your Will named guardians who would take care of your children in the event that both parents passed away. Are your guardians going to be willing and able to care for another child? You need to check in with your guardians with each new child to ensure they are still up to the task of caring for your growing brood. You also should speak to your guardians if they add to their family to make sure that they would still be able to handle the additional responsibilities that being guardians to your children would bring
  • Now is also a good time to review your life insurance and savings needs. As your family grows, so will your expenses. You should review your financial picture to make sure your (larger) family will be taken care of if something happens to you and your spouse.

So, before you have to worry about late night feedings and diaper changes again, review all of these things and set up an appointment with your lawyer or financial advisor if necessary so that you can be ready for your new arrival.

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