You have adopted a new family member, and now maybe thinking about ways to protect their future. One of the best ways to secure their financial stability and continue on your legacy is by adding them to your estate plan. Adoption is a beautiful thing for both the parents and their new son or daughter. For estate planning, a child that has been adopted is basically treated as if they were a biological child. But, if you have already established your estate plan prior to adoption, then you will need to make some changes once the adoption is finalized!
Updating an Estate Plan
Parents who have adopted a child must talk to their lawyer about changing an estate plan to properly reflect their new family. For instance, your trust may not have provisions including the adopted child. So, if you were to pass away and not have your trust updated accordingly, then your child may not receive the assets you would have wanted them to. Thankfully, there is an amendment you can add to your estate plan that ensures your new wishes will be addressed and followed.
Examples of Changes to Make
If you aren’t sure where to get started with changing your estate plan, your lawyer can assist you. It is important that you take the steps necessary to properly update your plan, so the document is still viewed as legally binding. Examples of changes that you may want to make to your estate plan include:
- If the child you are adopting is of minor age, adding the name of someone that you would want to take care of them in the event of your early passing (in other words, appointing a guardian).
- If you want the adopted child to receive assets once they are over the age of 18, then you must include a statement that delays the distribution.
- If the adopted child has special needs, you may want to consider creating a trust specifically for them, so they are taken care of after your passing (this can be a great way to feel reassured that their wellbeing won’t be jeopardized in the future).
- If you have biological or other adopted children, altering your estate plan so the total assets are divided equally. Or, you can give a percentage to each child based on their individual needs (such as one child being more likely to need financial support in their future due to illness).
- Adding a provision that enables the adopted child to continue living in the family home or permits them to use funds from your estate for specific purposes (such as a college education or a trip abroad).
When to Visit a Lawyer
As soon as you are in the process of adopting a child, you should consult with your lawyer, like an estate planning lawyer in Folsom, CA. Even if the adoption isn’t finalized yet, you can begin making preparations so when the time comes, your estate plan can be updated more quickly.
Thank you to Yee Law Group, PC for their insight into keeping your estate plan up to date after adoption.