So far I have a short list (note some of these steps are specific to Canada, in your answers if you include country specific steps please include which country it is for):

For Canada:

  1. Register your child's birth. This may or may not be done automatically for you during your hospital stay.
  2. Get a birth certificate (this requires that the birth be registered). You should probably get multiple copies since you may have to mail the original (ie: for a passport application). If you are offered a choice between a "short form" and a "long form", in the long run it may be best to order one of each.
  3. Get a health care card for the child. In Canada, this would be for your provincial government's health system.
  4. Get a SIN (Social Insurance Number) for the child (this needs a birth certificate)
  5. Get a passport for the newborn (at least in Canada you can no longer add the child to your passport)
  6. Get a LEGAL document sized safety deposit box (at my branch I got one of the last ones), anythign smaller and you'll have to fold/crumple legal sized documents to fit it in
  7. Go to a financial institution and create an RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) for the child (because college isn't cheap). If you plan to have more than one child, it may be easier to start a "family" RESP that all children can draw on, rather than having individual plans for each child. Note: you can't start an RSP (Retirement Savings Plan) until you are 18 so put that in your kids todo list. An RESP can be rolled in to an RRSP later on anyway.
  8. Go to a financial institution and create a savings account for your kid (with credit scores being such an integral part of life now, especially with respect to what interest rates you'll be paying on your credit card, mortgage, etc. best to start early)
  9. Change life insurance policy beneficiary if needed to include either a trust fund for the child or whomever you have designated as alternate legal guardian.
  10. Check if your pension plan has a death benefit payable to your child, and if so ensure that any necessary forms are filed. Some pensions will automatically pay out to your child until their 18th birthday if you die before then.
  11. Life insurance for the kid - personally I don't think this is needed but if you're paranoid you may want it to cover funeral costs/etc.
  12. Change will if needed. You should at a minimum ensure that the will states who you wish to name as guardian of your child, and how the finances should be distributed (ie: given to the guardian outright, to the guardian in trust for the child, or to the child directly). Alternatively, you might also want to consider a living trust.
  13. Update your health insurance (in Canada, your supplementary insurance) to ensure that your child is covered. If you don't have health insurance that will cover your child, get some.
  14. Register domain name for child (this allows them to have a static email address for the rest of their life, and prevents a domain squatter from getting it).
  15. Inform accountant (and ask them if you're forgetting anything)
  16. Inform lawyer (and ask them if you're forgetting anything)

I'm certain there are other things I am forgetting. Please remember to include which country you're providing items for.

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asked 30 Sep '09, 22:51

kurtseifried's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 20 Oct '10, 22:52

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦

Getting a life insurance early might prove to be very smart. For instance, should investigations later show that the kid carry a genetic heart disease, he/she might not be able to get a life insurance at all. If he has the insurance from the start he will be safe.

(30 Sep '09, 22:57) runaros

I think you have everything well covered! For sure in the U.S. you have to add your new child to your will otherwise there are "issues." I really like number 12 & 13 with "ask them if you're fogetting anything." lol

My husband was all over #11 when we had our kids, you nerd husbands are so funny!

(30 Sep '09, 23:24) Sabrina

Yeah but the cost of life insurance for a newborn is generally ridiculous for the benefits, and unless you buy something like term 50 or other long term package they'll have to renew at which point they'll be denied coverage (and it's not like guaranteed renewal policies are cheap). And when you think about it there's not much of an insurable interest (no dependents/etc.).

(30 Sep '09, 23:30) kurtseifried

The only thing I would add is to get multiple birth certificates. Especially since for passports in the U.S. you have to send your copy in the mail so you would be without one for a few weeks until they send it back to you. And it's nice to have duplicates when flying with a baby.

My dad was adopted and there were some issues with his birth certificate. He tried to contact the hospital in Panama to obtain another one and it had burnt down! So ever since when there is a baby born in our family we get at least 2-3 birth certificates just to be safe! :)

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answered 30 Sep '09, 23:51

Sabrina's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

Sounds like a bad TV episode. Good point.

(01 Oct '09, 07:47) kurtseifried

In Ontario, you may be given paper forms in the hospital to register your child's birth. Don't use them. Instead, use the provincial government's 3-in-1 application site, available at http://www.ontario.ca/en/services_for_residents/STEL01_105212

Through this site (if you're eligible) you can register the birth, and apply for a birth certificate and a SIN number simultaneously. If you instead use the paper form, you must wait until the birth is registered, then mail in your birth certificate request, then when you receive a copy of the certificate, mail in your Social Insurance Number request. All this back-and-forth can take several months, but using the online service saved us all that hassle.

When applying for a child's passport, it's also better to have the "long form" birth certificate (essentially a certified copy of your Certificate of Live Birth) rather than the "short form" birth certificate (which comes as a wallet-sized paper card). I would suggest ordering both and keeping them on file, as you will probably need both of them at separate times in your child's life.

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 01 Oct '09, 01:11

dave0's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%


+1: I remember Tammy used that website as well and we received the documents very quickly.

(01 Oct '09, 01:14) Scott ♦♦

Sounds like a more efficient way of doing things.

(01 Oct '09, 02:20) Mark

Not a necessity, but if you don't have one already, you may wish to open a safety deposit box at your bank. Keep your child's birth certificates, passport, etc, here when they're not in use.

Do not keep your only signed and notarized copy of your will in this box, however. If you and your co-parent happen to pass, the will would be the document that allows your heirs access to that safety deposit box, and if they don't have a copy of the will, they can't get in the box. Our lawyer's advice was to keep it double-wrapped in a ziploc bag in the bottom of your freezer (as this should keep it fairly safe against floods, fire, and other accidental damage, yet allow unimpeded access if it's needed). Tell your close friends and family where it is.

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answered 01 Oct '09, 01:24

dave0's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%


A better investment is to buy a fireproof safe. The initial cost is higher than renting a safe deposit box, but after a few years, the rental box costs more per year than your own safe.

(01 Oct '09, 02:22) Mark

Good point, I got one of the last proper legal size boxes at my branch, anything smaller, I can't imagine what a pain that would be.

(01 Oct '09, 07:45) kurtseifried

Tradeoffs: - fireproof safe is conveniently in your house, easy to access, and cheaper in the long run - safety deposit box is less likely to be stolen in a break-in or damaged/destroyed in a fire that goes beyond the tolerances it was designed for

(01 Oct '09, 13:38) dave0

I don't know if the law is any different in Canada regarding wills, but I would highly recommend getting a living trust instead of a will. I spent about $750 setting mine up and there's an enormous peace of mind knowing that our next of kin won't have to go through probate. But IANAL.

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answered 30 Sep '09, 23:52

bbrown's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

One reason for life insurance, it bypasses probate/etc.

(01 Oct '09, 07:48) kurtseifried

The VERY first thing to do in Canada is get the child a health card for provincial health care. You are only issued a temporary number in the hospital and you need to follow up to get them a proper card.

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 01 Oct '09, 01:58

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

A Living will. It's probably the only topic more morbid than death, and you hope you never need it, but you don't want your family to have to ponder your wishes if the unthinkable happens. Make your wishes clear.

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answered 19 Oct '09, 19:36

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

For more on legal documents such as your Last Will and Testament, Family Trust, Durable Power of Attorney, Heath Care Proxy, and Living Will, see http://moms4mom.com/questions/3584/what-to-do-when-i-die/3613#3613

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answered 23 Oct '10, 13:08

Phil's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Asked: 30 Sep '09, 22:51

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Last updated: 16 Aug '13, 04:34