New York residents of all ages may have children of their own or choose to adopt. This is a very happy occasion for most, but it also is a time that brings with it a lot of change and activity on a number of levels.

For instance, updating one’s estate plan is recommended whenever a parent welcomes a new child into the world.

On a related note, the birth of one’s first child is also a great opportunity to create an estate plan if one hasn’t gotten around to it.  There are several reasons for doing this, but here are a couple of important considerations:

Nominating a guardian

Particularly if both parents of a child remain in a relationship, there is always a chance that a sudden tragedy could leave the child an orphan. The parents’ wills are a good means by which the parent can suggest a suitable guardian, like a close relative or a friend.

The guardian can oversee the child’s property, and he can also take custody over the child and provide for the child’s needs.

It is possible that some court involvement will still have to happen in order to get the parents’ children established in a new home, but having a valid will which names a guardian is still a hugely helpful step.

Other concerns

Creating or updating a will becomes more important after having a child for other reasons as well. For example, without a will, a person’s estate will pass via New York’s intestacy laws.

If the person is married, then his or her children may receive an inheritance even if one’s spouse survives. If a parent is not married at the time of her death, her children will receive her entire estate.

A New Yorker may or may not prefer this sort of arrangement. If she doesn’t, she can easily alter it by executing a will.

Furthermore, a man who has paternity established with a child should understand that, under the law, that child will receive an inheritance from him the same as his other biological or adopted children. On the other hand, there is no paternity, there is no automatic inheritance. Again, he must create a will in order to alter this arrangement.