Between work, school and after-school activities, young families have a lot on their plates. And new parents are occupied with diapers, feeding schedules and getting a good night’s sleep. It’s hard to think about the future when you’re so focused on the present. But there is something else young parents should think about: estate planning. Putting your last wishes on paper is critical to ensuring your family is taken care of when you die.
The word “estate” might sound posh, but estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy. Your estate is simply all the assets you leave behind when you die, including your bank accounts, 401(k) plan, home or car. An estate plan helps to ensure that these assets go to the right people, that your debts are paid and your family is taken care of. Without an estate plan, your estate generally has to go through probate, which is a potentially lengthy court process that settles the debts and distributes the assets of a deceased person.