Pregnant and Planning the Unthinkable: Why You Need A Will

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Image Via: Flickr.com/chellyc 


Pregnancy is preparation. You prepare a name, a nursery, a birthing plan, and even a hypothetical schedule for your newborn, but in all that excitement, you rarely prepare for the worst. Considering your death amidst carrying life is a nearly unthinkable, but most necessary responsibility of any expectant parent.

Creating a will is more than simply designating which family member will inherit your flat screen. Having a child means considering their emotional, financial, and physical well being. In the event of your untimely death, having a “map” of your wishes will serve to lessen some of the stress your friends and family (and child) will undoubtedly experience.

My husband and I broached this conversation early in my pregnancy, which was fortunate, considering it took nearly three trimesters to finish it. Choosing a guardian for our child in the event we were no longer able to care for him was gut-wrenching. We were surrounded by an infinite number of qualified, loving, and caring friends and family, but the thought of selecting our “replacements” brought tears to my eyes and an inability to hold a rational conversation.

Considering your death amidst carrying life is a nearly unthinkable, but most necessary responsibility of any expectant parent.

We are his parents. We have our own, individualized perspectives on raising our son. We have personalized beliefs about discipline and affection and education and family and religion, and no matter how detailed our “plan,” not even the most befitting guardian would ever be us.  

But regardless, putting together a plan was a difficult must. Leaving the state to determine the fate of our son was a far less desirable option, so we had the hard conversations and created a living will. (Dying without a will also means your property will be divided based upon your state’s intestacy laws. To view your state’s intestacy laws, click here.) 

Depending on your assets, hiring an attorney that specializes in family and estate planning might be your best option; however, there are a number of estate planning kits and legal documentation services online that may suit your needs. Sites like www.uslegalforms.com, www.lawdepot.com, and www.legalzoom.com can help you navigate the waters of estate planning and assigning a guardian for your child(ren) without hiring a professional. (This does not signify an endorsement of any of these sites, their inclusion here is merely as a place to begin your own research.

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Creating a will comes with a decent amount of flexibility. You may find peace of mind in determining one individual to manage your finances (a trustee) and another individual (a guardian) to care for your child. You may also include a declaration of your wishes regarding the child’s upbringing. There are many facets to consider, so planning early is paramount.

Once you’ve established your will, it’s always a good idea to revisit it every few years and/or after a life changing event. Perhaps your original choice of guardian is no longer able to care for your child, or maybe your parental priorities have changed, and you feel that another loved one is now better suited for the role. Maybe your financial or geographical situation has changed. Make a plan to consider revisions every few years, as it is impossible to predict the future. Making preemptive parenting preparations in the tragic event when you are someday unable to make them is one of the greatest things you can do for your child.  

What do you think?

Pregnant and Planning the Unthinkable: Why You Need A Will

Jennifer Bruno is a credentialed trainer by day and a freelance writer and aspiring photographer by night. Raised in rural Kansas, Jen moved to sunny Florida after college where she met her husband, who married her despite hearing her sing Dixie Chicks karaoke. Shortly after saying “I do”, they moved to New York City to fulfill their dream of living amongst the bright lights and skyscrapers. They currently share their cramped apartment with two modelesque miniature dachshunds named Millie an ... More

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3 comments

  1. Timothy says:

    we did ours a couple of weeks ago

  2. Nat says:

    both my husband and I have started our wills but never seem to get them finished…he is an only child and my family is not stable and due to his job we have moved alot and don’t have really close friends to put as guardians so we are always stumped. I guess we both are waiting to see how my youngest brother turns out..lol!

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