For many parents, the most important part of their estate plan is who will have guardianship of children if they should pass away. However, there are other parts of estate planning that need to be considered by women and families entering childbirth. Who can make decisions on the mother’s behalf if she is incapacitated during childbirth? What happens if complications occur during or after childbirth? These situations can be devastating to Ontario families, but advance planning can at the very least keep the matter out of the courtroom.
The majority of the time, giving birth is a joy-filled for families. However, childbirth is a time when a birthing mother’s life is at higher risk than usual. At the very least, there is the potential that they may be medically unable to make decisions for themselves; for example, if they are undergoing an emergency surgery. Along with general instructions, a power of attorney can be named to make decisions on the mother’s behalf if she is unable.
A will is also an important consideration for expecting parents. Deciding what should happen to children should both parents pass away is critical, and this decision should be made and set in writing as soon as possible. It is important to note that this decision can be changed. Often, new information or evolving relationships emerge when a new family member is born so revisiting this decision regularly is wise.
Overall, there are many estate planning considerations that should be looked into prior to entering the birthing room at the hospital. While these may not be comfortable topics at such a joyful time, having these discussions early can help people avoid panicked decisions or estate litigation down the line. For those who are facing conflict regarding estate plans and administration, it can help to speak with an Ontario estate lawyer about questions and concerns.