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Estate planning basics for new parents in Alaska

When you are expecting a baby, you are thinking about things like choosing the right name for your child, decorating the nursery and setting up a college fund. One other aspect of parenthood that some do not consider is the fact that if you and your child’s other parent pass away before your child is 18, someone will need to be made guardian of your child.

What is a guardian?

Most parents may find guardianship a difficult topic to think about, but it needs to be done. Guardians in Alaska are responsible for making decisions about where the child will live, what doctors the child will see and other care aspects of raising a child, including handling the child’s finances unless a separate conservator is appointed that duty.

Can I choose my child’s guardian?

You can choose your child’s guardian by naming a guardian in your will. This is preferable to many who have an opinion about who should raise their child in the awful case that they are not around to do so. If you and your child’s other parent do not name a guardian in your will, the court will choose a guardian. To ensure your choice is honored, make sure you have a legally enforceable will.

Other estate planning considerations

There are other aspects of estate planning new parents will want to consider. They may want to include their child as an heir in their will. They may want to set up a trust, and name their child as the beneficiary to that trust. They may want to designate their child as the beneficiary to a life insurance policy. Note that if you do so, someone will need to manage the payout if you die while your child is still a minor.

Expecting a new child is exciting and terrifying at the same time. Overall, parenthood is often a beautiful time in your life, and being prepared for the unexpected can work out well in your favor should the unthinkable happen.