In the whirlwind of labor and the aftermath of having a brand new baby to take care of, paperwork may be the last thing on your mind while you’re at the hospital. However, there's a lot to get done when it comes to documents. So what paperwork do you fill out once your baby is born, and just how complicated is it? Because after being in labor for who knows how long, filling out a bunch of paperwork sounds terrible. Luckily, it's not too bad, as long as you get everything done at the hospital before you leave.
According to the AllState insurance company’s website, paperwork for your baby should begin at home, before you even give birth, and it includes creating a will for yourself in the unfortunate event something happens to you and your partner. It’s important to get this right, so if you can’t afford a lawyer, you can use a self-help book to make sure it’s done correctly. In the will, be sure to include who the guardians will be for your baby, a list of your assets and what your child will receive, as well as who will help make that happen, funeral arrangements, and an executor to handle the paperwork. You may even want to create a life insurance policy for your new baby. Additionally, if you have a 401k or an IRA, make sure that’s outlined in your will.
As a side note, my friends and I all knew we were getting old when we basically had an impromptu will-signing party, making each other the legal guardians of the new babies after they were born. It was quite the surreal experience, and I plan on having one once my husband and I conceive our own baby.
Now that you've taken care of the important documents before the baby is born, there are some things to do at the hospital. After giving birth, you’ll fill out the birth certificate, and a social security form for your baby — you know, to make them a real human being and part of society. According to the Social Security Administration, this is an easy task if you do it at the hospital when you sign your baby's birth certificate. It's also super important — without that number, you don’t exist. You’ll have to have both parents' social security numbers, and you’ll receive your child’s number before you leave. It takes a while for the actual card and birth certificate to come to your house — about three months, according to the AllState website.
As far as the birth certificate goes, in addition to the parent's social security numbers, you'll have to have both of your places of birth and the date, as well as your maiden name (if that applies) and legal name, if you changed it when you got married. If you haven't figured out a name for your baby yet, while you can technically leave the hospital without filling out the birth certificate in its entirety, it will be a pain in the butt to do it after the fact. According to West Tennessee Women's Center, it's "difficult and costly" to make additions or corrections to the birth certificate after leaving the hospital.
While this doesn’t necessarily have to be filled out at the hospital, you’ll need to fill out paperwork to add your baby to your health insurance plan, too. Hopefully you’ve already picked out who their pediatrician is while you were pregnant. Additionally, you’ll have to keep up with your baby’s immunization paperwork if you’re planning on vaccinating them. Most day care centers require proof of immunizations and kindergarten enrollment does, too. So make sure you keep this documentation on file somewhere you won’t misplace it.
Having a new baby is fun and exciting, so make sure you save some time to do all the boring stuff, like the official paperwork, along with the fun stuff, like decorating the nursery and creating a registry.
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