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Will another baby affect your current will?

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james steidl

Q. I had a baby in December. I already had estate planning documents with the birth of my first child. Do I really need to re-do everything?
— Mom again

A. Congratulations on your new addition.

You probably don’t need to re-do your estate planning documents, but you need to make sure.

You should check your will to confirm that it identifies your “children” or “descendants” as your beneficiaries, and then defines those terms to provide that children born after you executed your will are included within those terms, said Frederick Schoenbrodt, an estate planning attorney with Drinker Biddle & Reath in Florham Park.

“If it does, then it’s probably not critical that it be updated to include your new child’s name,” Schoenbrodt said. “If, on the other hand, it is drafted inflexibly and simply identifies your first child by name as the beneficiary, then it should be updated.”

Schoenbrodt said you may want to take this opportunity to also review your beneficiary designations for your life insurance policies and retirement plans.

In those documents, he said, you may have named your first child specifically as a beneficiary and an update may be necessary.

He said you should use care before naming your estate as the beneficiary of any retirement assets because doing so can have unintended adverse income tax consequences after your death.

“If you have significant retirement assets and wish to name as beneficiaries of those assets any trusts under your will for the benefit of your children, consult with a knowledgeable tax advisor or trust and estate attorney who can advise you regarding any required revisions to your will and retirement account beneficiary designations,” he said.

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for The Star-Ledger and she’s the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Click here to sign up for the NJMoneyHelp.com weekly e-newsletter. Like NJMoneyHelp.com on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.

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