When you are a single parent, you must take action to put an estate plan in place. There is absolutely no way that you can responsibly go through life without making provisions for the well-being of your children if you were to pass away.
This is true regardless of your age. Of course, we all expect to watch our children become adults in their own right, but there are no guarantees. Individuals pass away in accidents and due to sudden catastrophic health conditions each and every day. As sad as it may be, many of them have minor children, and some of them are single parents.
Our attorneys can provide you with the guidance you need. In this post, we will take a look at four things that every single parent should consider.
If you are a single parent, you should include your choice of guardian for your children when you are planning your estate. In the event of your passing, the state would be forced to decide on the fate of your children if you do not assert your own wishes in a legally binding manner.
It should be noted that the court would have to approve of your choice, but they would do so unless there was some reason why the proposed guardian was deemed to be unsuitable.
How would your children get by financially if you were no longer around to care for them? It is important to make sure that you have made provisions for the well-being of your children from a financial perspective. Life insurance can serve as an income replacement vehicle, and term life is quite affordable for younger adults.
As a single parent, you should make sure that you have the appropriate incapacity planning documents in place. One of these legal devices is called a living will. This type will has nothing to do with financial assets. In a living will, you state your wishes with regard to the use of life-support systems if you are ever in a terminal condition with no hope of recovery.
Durable powers of attorney will also be part of a well-constructed incapacity plan. With a durable power of attorney for health care, you name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
You can also have a durable financial power of attorney to empower an agent to handle your financial decision making if you become unable to manage your own affairs.
Will or Trust
An asset transfer vehicle of some kind will also be part of an estate plan for a single parent. Many people assume that a last will is the right choice, and it could suffice. Since a minor would not be able to directly manage property, you could name a property guardian or custodian under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.
Another option would be a revocable living trust. You would be able be able to act as the trustee and the beneficiary while you are alive and well so you would not lose of control of the assets. Your child would be the successor beneficiary, and you would name a successor trustee to administer the trust after your passing.
In the trust declaration, you would be able to provide specific instructions for the trustee. You could allow the beneficiary to assume total possession of the property when they reach adulthood, but more often, parents want a trusted person to manage the property until the children are a little further into adulthood.
Schedule a Consultation!
If you are going through life without an estate plan, whether you are a single parent or not, action is required. We would be glad to sit down with you, learn about your objectives, and help you devise a plan that is ideal for you and your loved ones.
You can schedule a consultation at our Charlotte office or Huntersville office if you give us a call at 704-944-3245. The number in Kentucky is 606-324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or 859-372-6655 (Florence, KY), and there is a contact form on this website that you can use to send us a message.