Welcoming a new family member into your life through adoption can be an exciting and heart-warming experience for everyone involved. You may be wanting to do everything you can to make them feel equal to other children, and as if they were biologically yours from the start. One of the best ways that you can set your adopted child up for equal treatment in the future is including them in your estate plan. If you created an estate plan already before the adoption, then you will need to revisit it with help from an estate planning attorney.
Here are some examples of changes you may need to make to your estate plan after adopting a new family member:
- If the child you are adopting is under legal age, appoint a guardian for them in your will, just in case something unexpected happens.
- You can include upbringing goals for your adopted child by including provisions in your estate that state how they are to stay in the family home, or can use certain funds from your estate to go to college, etc.
- If the child you adopted has special needs, then you can create a special needs trust within your current estate plan. With this type of trust, you can set aside money specifically for your child’s care without risking his or her right to get benefits from the government.
- If you also have biological children, you can update your estate plan so that your assets are divided among them as you so wish. You can divide it evenly or based on what you think their needs would be in the future. For instance, if your adopted child is much younger than your biological children, you may prefer to set aside a little bit more funds for them so they have extra support as they get older.
- After the adoption has been finalized, your estate planning attorney can help you identify areas in your current estate plan that need to be changed in order to ensure that part of your estate goes to them after your passing.
- If you want your adopted child to receive assets past the age of 18, then you can write a provision for a set date in which they would receive their inheritance.
Why You Need Help From an Estate Planning Attorney
It is strongly advised that you do not update your estate plan without assistance from a legal professional. An estate plan has to be created, signed, and witnessed in a certain way in order for it to be legally binding. The worst case scenario if you don’t have an estate planning lawyer Sacramento, CA to help you, is that later down the line your documents have flaws and thus the validity may be questioned. This could put your wishes and instructions at-risk for not being abided by, putting more stress on loved ones and beneficiaries who are already grieving their loss of you.
Thanks to Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and changes to make after an adoption.