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Congratulations, Dad!

Welcome to your new responsibilities: life insurance, disability insurance, a Will, and appointing people to handle things if you slip on a banana peel, not to mention college.

Hearing those first words and playing catch will be a lot more enjoyable if you know that your plans and legal documents are in place.

You could sleep like a baby.

Many new parents recognize the importance of life insurance but few bother with disability insurance. One out of four of us will experience a period of disability during the working years. How will your family survive? After six months you might be eligible for Social Security Disability Income. This is like taking your Social Security retirement benefits early. But how many years will you have paid in? How much will this really be? It probably will not be enough: Social Security retirement benefits, based on the 35 highest years of earnings, is only supposed to cover one-third of your expenses during retirement, when the house will have been paid for and the children (yes, even your baby) will have finished college.

Speaking of college, you might also start a 529 plan, enjoying the miracle of compound interest.

Be sure your 401k and IRA are maxed out first. Your children may be dependent on you for years to come. You don’t want to be dependent on them.


Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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