Yesterday I gave some advice to all birth parents regarding relinquished children and inheritance laws. Basically, if you missed the post (go read!), whether or not you want your relinquished child to have access to an inheritance, you need to specifically state your desires in your will. I am now going to share my personal reasoning for including my placed daughter in both my will and as a beneficiary in my life insurance policy.
Disclaimer: These are personal reasons. They may not be your reasons. They may contradict everything you believe. And that’s okay.
Long before I thought about wills, I was still forced to think about this issue on the scale of life insurance beneficiaries. It first came into my conscience at my first “real” job when I was filling out all of the initial paperwork. They offered a free life insurance policy. I filled out the information and then stopped when I had to list beneficiaries.
At this point in my life, I was engaged and not actively parenting any children. My relinquished daughter, of course, lived with her adoptive family. I knew, of course, that I would list my soon-to-be husband as a beneficiary to pay off my student loans and for the funeral and just because that’s what you do. But my heart immediately wanted to leave something to my daughter. So, I listed her as well. To this day, when I’m filling out life insurance beneficiary information, I list my relinquished daughter and my Husband. Yes, I now parent two boys but my Husband has been given directions on how to split up the money for the boys and what to do with the rest of his portion. My daughter’s parents know that she is listed as a beneficiary and will hopefully use it for her college fund or something equally awesome.
As for my will, yes, I’ve been including my daughter as the updates have come. Quite frankly, as a young family with a mortgage, we don’t have a lot of extra money. But there are personal things that I want to make sure go to my only daughter, even if she was placed with another family. I want to make sure she receives any jewelry that I have been given to honor her or from her family. A necklace with her birthstone, a bracelet with her birthdate and other similar pieces are examples. I also want to make sure she gets all of the adoption paperwork. I’ve already given her parents the pictures I possessed of her biological father. There are other things, as well, that I have listed to make sure she receives.
What’s my reasoning behind all of this?
It has been my goal, since day one, to make sure that my daughter knows that she was always wanted and loved. I include my death in that goal. No, talking about death is not fun and it’s quite morbid. But anyone with children, parented or not, knows that your own mortality and the future of your children crosses your mind from time to time. Planning for the future is a necessity for parents who are actively parenting their children and, quite frankly, birth parents should be just as prepared.
Tomorrow I will talk about things that you might want to leave to your relinquished child in your will.
For more on legal issues, read these posts.