As a young family, it is very important to consider estate planning. The degree of estate planning that is necessary for your situation is something you will need to discuss with an estate planning attorney.
Any estate plan will include guardianship provisions for your child(ren), which is important so that you know by whom your child will be raised if something were to happen to both you and your partner. However, perhaps more importantly, a comprehensive estate plan will consider what happens if either you or your partner passes away, but not the other (which is far more likely than you both passing away at the same time). For example, what happens if the breadwinner of the family suddenly passes away and that income is no longer there?
A good place to start is to speak with an estate planning attorney who can address your questions, concerns and goals. Many attorneys will offer free consultations. Additionally, many attorneys can refer you to a financial planner if that is necessary, in order to ensure that your financial estate planning goals are being met.
Every parent with minor children should consider estate planning. There are several advantages to creating a comprehensive estate plan. First, you can ensure that you are prepared for what might happen in the event that one parent dies. Second, you can designate who cares for your child or children in the event that both parents are unable to. Third, you can provide for the financial management of assets to provide for your child or children. This not only includes who manages the money, but when your chid or children can access the money on their own and how much they can access. Finally, you can discuss options for education planning if you are interested in beginning to fund your child's education costs. All of these are important aspects to consider and will be decided by others of you do not plan in advance. You should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney about your overall situation and goals. Many estate planning attorneys offer a free initial consultation.
Mr. Henline is licensed to practice law in the state of Minnesota. His practice focuses in the areas of estate planning and probate, real property and small businesses. This does not create an attorney/client relationship. This does not constitue legal advice. The response is intended to provide general legal information. It is limited to facts of the question. You should consult an attorney in the appropriate state involved before making any decisions based on this answer.
If you have limited resources (money), I would suggest doing only what is necessary currently. If you have no will, the intestate laws of MN (the laws that will determine who gets your "stuff") are very good and will cause your things to get to whom you probably would have wished.
However, I would be most concerned about the care of your child. This is the primary reason that I would recommend a will - to name a guardian for your child so that there is no question about who you want to raise and care for your child.
So, with limited resources, look into a will with guardianship provisions. Then, if and when resources allow, consider a trust, so that you can determine who and how your resources are used to benefit your child.