My husband and I just welcomed our first child into the world on June 16th. As I was thinking of what to discuss this month, I thought I’d simply share how my new parenthood has made me reconsider our estate plan and the documents I create for my clients on a regular basis.
The first thing that occurred to me is how important a medical power of attorney really is. This was my first experience being hospitalized; while I did not have to use my power of attorney, it was extremely comforting to me to know my husband would be able to make medical decisions if I was unable.
It also made me re-evaluate our trust and trustees. We completed our trust years ago and with the birth of our first born, my husband and I have set aside some time to review our trust and make sure the decisions we made then still are applicable to our new family.
But the most important thing I have realized is how hard it is to choose a guardian. I have always helped my clients sort through the options and generally act as a third party perspective with objective reasons why someone may or may not be a good fit. Well, I now understand on a very personal level why it is so hard. It’s so difficult to find someone who will raise your child the way you want to raise him. Everyone we’ve considered has positive and negative characteristics and it’s so easy to rule someone out because they’re not perfect. As I’ve told my clients in the past, no one can replace them, they’re only able to choose the best option in the worst circumstance.
Parenthood has given me a new perspective and while I’m proud of that third party, objective view, I hope it’s given me an opportunity to better understand the families I work with and the difficult decisions they must face when forming an estate plan.