What are the most important legal and financial steps for new parents in the US? For example, establishing a will, purchasing life insurance, setting up a college fund, etc...
Here is a list based on our experiences, and what I was able to research:
- Apply for (and order copies of) birth certificate
- Apply for social security card
- Apply for passport (if desired)
- Update your will:
- Name a guardian for your child
- Designate what your child should inherit, and how that money should be used (if you don't specify how much to set aside for education, etc., the courts will)
- Name a trustee for your child's finances
- Prepare a Caregiver Affidavit (this names someone to care for your child if you are incapacitated temporarily)
- Prepare a Durable Power of Attorney over Finances (this allows someone to manage your finances if you are unable)
Financial / Medical
- College / education savings
- Life insurance for yourself (if desired)
- Set your bank accounts to be payable on death to your chosen guardians
- Add your child to your health insurance (if vision and dental plans are separate, they can usually wait until the child is 6 months or a year old)
Life Insurance. You have someone (your child) now who is completely and solely dependent upon you to take care of them. If something unfortunate were to happen and you were no longer there to provide for them, that would be tragic. Life insurance, like any other insurance, is a necessary evil for parents of young children. Tern life insurance is typically quite affordable in the long run and provides a financial security blanket.
I also agree with all of @Sarato's comments regarding Legal items.