Should You Revise Your Estate When a New Baby or Grandchild Arrives

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Estate Planning Attorney

Many couples hire an estate planning attorney to prepare a trust or Will for them when a first child is born. Then comes along two, three or even more. So should the parents redo their wills?

Assuming a competent estate planning attorney created the wills, they probably refer to your “descendants” or your “children” as beneficiaries. If so, your second and subsequent child (or grandchild if you’re a proud grandparent), is effectively included in the estate planning document and they need not be revised. On the other hand, if your wills mention the first child by name only, that could be a problem. That’s what happened when actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died; he had an old will which referred, by name, only to this first child with no mention of the two born subsequently. It’s probable he intended for all children to be included but that’s not the point, avoid the uncertainty!

Now may be the prudent time to review all assets for which you’ve named beneficiaries, such as insurance policies, bank accounts, retirement funds, etc. Make sure your estate plan provides a mechanism so that any funds received by the children will be held in a trust for them. Also, be aware that New Jersey will recognize a healthcare surrogate for minor children, in case you are unavailable and medical decisions must be made in your absence.

You should sleep more soundly once you have the right plans in place.

To discuss your NJ Estate Planning matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.