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My wife and I will be adopting a toddler within the next year. We're excited but also nervous! What type of financial plan should we have in place for our child? Of course a college fund... What else?


Congratulations on your impending good fortune. You're right about the desirability of a college fund, and options like a 529 plan or Coverdell account will certainly help the money accrue faster. Details are available elsewhere in "Ask the Expert," but what it boils down to is that both vehicles offer tax breaks, and 529 plans involve more red tape than Coverdell accounts but tend to have more generous benefits.
You might also want to think about what can go wrong in your lives, specifically the ending of them, and how to prepare in case it happens. You should make out wills if you haven't done so already. The same goes for buying a life insurance policy. While you're at it, you should take inventory of all of your savings and retirement accounts and put down your child's name and Social Security number, once you have obtained one, on the various forms specifying your next of kin. It may seem kind of gruesome, but it's necessary.
-Conrad de Aenlle