I read somewhere that it’s important to create an estate plan when you’re having a baby, but it’s such a stressful thing to think about. Plus, my mom keeps saying it’s bad luck to create a will. Is this really necessary? What’s the least stressful way to go about it?
We agree: Estate planning is totally stressful. You’re already going through a ton of different emotions right now -- and thinking about your or your partner’s death is probably the last thing you want to do. But don’t think of it as a morbid thing: Think of it as taking care of your baby -- it’s just another precaution (like baby-proofing or cord blood banking. But it’s also a very important tool for families. It will allow you to have some control over uncontrollable events and circumstances. In addition, it's a very smart way to protect your assets from taxes and probate. Creating an estate plan will give you peace of mind as well, because you can relax knowing that you did your best to protect your family against the unexpected.
And don’t worry -- what you make now is not permanent! These documents are not set in stone. You can always change them in the future, so they’re not the be-all and end-all. In fact, you should revisit your estate plan periodically to ensure that it continues to meet your needs, goals and objectives.
Don't forget: Estate planning isn’t just about who takes care of your loved ones if you should pass, or who gets what. You can create living trusts, educational trusts and special needs trusts. It's a great way to maximize and protect the things you have worked so hard to attain.
On that note, don’t think that this stuff is just for rich people. Some people think that, and it’s simply not true. Revocable living trusts are for anyone who wants to avoid expensive court and lawyer costs. In some cases, people with small estates can benefit from a revocable living trust too, so ask your attorney if you should consider one.
With respect to your mom saying it’s bad luck, she means well, but this is ultimately your decision (and your own interpretation of luck -- wearing a seat belt isn’t considered bad luck, but it’s preparing for the worst too, right?). If you’re worried about what your mom thinks, it’s okay to do an estate plan and keep it under wraps. Or if you really do want to discuss it with her, you can just say something like, “Mom, creating an estate plan is just like getting car insurance. Chances are you won’t need it when you have it,” or, “I’d feel more comfortable knowing that my baby will be taken care of no matter what.”
Plus, more from The Bump:
How to write a will?
Should I update my estate plan now that I’m pregnant?
Can I create a will online?