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Planning for a baby? Consider planning for your estate as well

If you are expecting a child, whether it is your first or fifth, there is a lot of planning to do. You need to get the nursery ready, find childcare for when Mom and Dad return to work and figure out a budget, including how you might save for your child's college. All this is on top of taking care of the mother and ensuring the baby is safe and healthy.

The last thing you might want to think about is planning for even longer into the future, or the end of a parent's life. This can be stressful and uncomfortable, but in the long run, parents can be very relieved they took a few steps to plan ahead early on.

Readjusting your financial expectations

As this Wealth Management article points out, your finances change considerably when a child is added to family, which will almost certainly affect any plans you have for retirement and lifestyle. Further, expectant parents may be wise to get life insurance and/or establish a trust in order to protect their children's financial well-being in the future.

Consider guardianships

Deciding who will take care of your new child if you are unable to will also be an important decision to make. Of course, this is a very sensitive subject, so don't rush into anything. However, talking to your partner about who will serve as your child's guardian can give you -- and the guardian -- peace of mind.

Documenting wishes

Parents can protect their children well into adulthood by making some difficult decisions themselves. Rather than leave end-of-life determinations, funeral options and other distressing decisions in the hands of adult children, grieving spouses or the courts, parents can document their wishes in a will and by assigning powers of attorney.

Baby steps

You don't need to figure out everything about wills, trusts, guardianships and other elements of an estate plan right away or even all at once. You can make some decisions now, some later on and readjust them as needed. However, you have to start somewhere, and for many people, that first step is talking to an attorney about your goals and wishes.

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