Beyond the Birth Plan: Tough decisions for new parents (part 1)
I won’t lie, this topic is pretty depressing. Not like the majority of work seen by a matrimonial attorney, right? (Just kidding.) Okay new parents, let’s do this; let’s talk about estate planning.
Every pregnant woman should have a last will and testament, a living will, and a health care proxy. It sounds morbid, and it can be difficult to talk about; but these steps are arguably more important than any birthing class or car seat research you’re stressing about. What if your pregnancy and birth don’t go as planned, and unforeseen complications require some tough decisions? First, you should take time to seriously contemplate some “God forbid, what if…” scenarios, and have some idea how you would want those scenarios handled in the event that you are unable to make your own decision at the time. These are incredibly personal choices, depending heavily on an individual’s values. Next, have you communicated your wishes to your co-parent or another person you trust to protect your wishes regardless of their own? Thinking about and communicating your intentions and medical care preferences are a good start; but, that’s only your first step toward responsibly planning for your, and your baby’s, health and legal security.
We counsel all of our clients to have a will prepared regardless of whether they are currently expanding their family, although a pregnancy certainly makes the matter more urgent. In addition to having a will prepared, we advise our clients to prepare two additional legal documents which are perhaps the most important for a pregnant woman. These two documents are called a living will and a health care proxy.
More on this (serious, and seriously important) subject to come soon…