Getting Ready for Baby: A Legal Guide

HomeBlogEstate PlanningLegal To-Dos Before Your Baby Is Born

Buying a crib and diapers and picking out adorable baby clothes are not the only issues to prepare for when you have a baby. Getting ready for a baby also involves legal prep. Let’s look at common legal things to do before your baby is born.

Let’s face it. Your chances of dying in childbirth or getting in a deadly car crash on the way home from the hospital or birthing center are not high. Living in the modern world has its perks. However, death is a part of life. To truly care for your child, you need a plan in case you are no longer around. Especially if you plan to be a single Mom, your child depends on your preparation for their future, whether you’re present in it or not.

Why It’s Time to Write Your Last Will & Testament

If you don’t have a will, no one will know who you prefer to keep the baby if something happens to you. 

In worst-case scenarios, no one will claim your baby as their own. Your child could grow up a ward of the state. Even in a less extreme scenario, relatives may argue over who is the best guardian for your child if you are gone.

Why Should I Care About NC Intestate Law?

Without a will, the state of North Carolina will use intestate law to determine your baby’s new guardian. Intestate law is a set of mandates that lead a court process to distribute your estate and name guardians for your children. Family and friends may also argue for or against different guardians. The judge’s final decision for the guardian of your child may be someone you would never have wanted. 

For example, if you had abusive parents who would not let you leave the house or have any friends, you may want different for your own child. However, if you die without a will, a judge decides your baby’s guardian. You may or may not have agreed with the decision.

Without a will, the court often nominates a family member. The appointed person could easily be one of your parents. The court doesn’t know about your upbringing or if your parents were abusive. If you don’t state your wishes in a will, the judge cannot consider them.

Different Kinds of Guardians

When you write a will, you can also choose a guardian of the estate to care for the financial estate you leave behind. Intestate law usually leaves your estate (your money and assets) to your child. 

The appointed guardian of the estate decides how the money is spent for the child as they grow up. For example, the guardian of the estate might make decisions to buy your child braces or to spend all of your hard-earned money on clothes and jewelry. It is their decision how to spend well for your child’s future.

A guardian of the estate can be the same person who cares for the child’s day-to-day care or another person entirely. For example, if you have a single mother and would like to declare her for both daily care of the child and care of the inherited estate, you can do so in your will.

However, if you don’t write a will, you don’t get a say, and the judge will appoint whichever guardian(s) seem appropriate during the intestate court proceedings.

How to Write a Will

Writing a will sounds complicated, but it is not. It’s just writing down who you are and what you want to happen with your children and your assets if you pass away. You also name an executor. 

An executor is a person you trust to represent your estate to your heirs. They are the person who will go through your things and make sure everything is distributed fairly according to your wishes. They also file your income tax for the year you pass away.

There are examples of wills online, but an attorney should go over the language to ensure your will is airtight and well-written. Writing a confusing will can create legal battles between your family members. Therefore, it is worth the expense to ensure that your will is well written.

Once you’ve drawn up a will with your attorney, it must be signed by two witnesses on the same day that you sign the will. The witnesses help to probate your will in court. Their job is to state whether the will is, in fact, yours or a fake.

We Can Help

At Vail Gardner Law, we specialize in estate planning and are woman-owned. We want to help you ensure that your new baby is well-cared-for no matter what the future holds. You have the power to make a plan for your baby now so that their future is full of love and happiness. Get in touch and schedule a free initial consultation to find out how we can help you plan.