Understand your finances.
Take a look at what you owe and what you make. If you’re planning on moving, buying a bigger car, or want to quit work to raise the baby, you’ll need to create a budget that allows you to “forecast where you will be financially,” says Chris Viale, general manager of Cambridge Credit, a not-for-profit credit counseling agency in Agawam, Mass.
Visit your employee benefits department to find out, in plain language, what your policy covers, and how much time you have to add a new baby or adopted child to your policy. Vaile also advises parents to research and understand other policies at work relating to such things as maternity or family leave, and flex spending accounts.
Create or update your wills.
Besides instructions about how the estate should be distributed, wills also should include the name of whomever the parents have chosen as their child’s guardian. Parents also may wish to appoint a different person to be the guardian of the child’s money, according to Tracy Stewart, CFP (certified financial planner) and CPA (certified public accountant) in College Station, Texas. “Every time you have a new baby, add that child’s name to your will. Revisit the guardian choice at the same time,” says Stewart. Go to board-certified estate planning attorneys. She says it can be a “pay me now or pay me later” situation if the will isn’t well-written.
Besides instructions on how the estate should be distributed, wills should also include the name of whomever the parents have chosen as their child’s guardian.
Take advantage of tax credits.
Claim each of your children on your tax return. According to Stewart, parents may be eligible for up to $10,000 for qualified adoption expenses, and even more if adopting a special needs child. Parents should check with a CPA or tax preparer for more information.
Check out child care. Vaile directs parents to the National Child Care Information Center for information about what to look for in a provider.