It is no secret that being a single parent is challenging. In addition to the day-to-day struggles of raising children on your own, you may also have concerns about what the future might hold for your kids if anything were to happen to you.
While estate planning for single parents is similar to estate planning for two-parent families, there are certain factors that require an added amount of attention when only one parent is involved. If you are a single parent, here are some important things you should consider about your estate plan.
Make Sure Your Documents are Updated
If you have not reviewed your Will or your other estate planning documents in the last few years, you should do so as soon as possible so that your estate plan reflects your current situation. Ensure that you are satisfied with the beneficiary designations on your insurance policies and any other accounts so that it’s not up to the probate court to decide what your children should receive if you were to pass.
Designate a Suitable Guardian
If there is not another parent in the picture who is available to take custody of your kids in the event that you become incapacitated or if you pass away , make sure that your estate plan designates a suitable guardian for your children. This should be somebody who is both willing and able to care for them. If your guardian requires financial assistance to raise your children, be sure to set aside funds from your estate for that purpose.
Acquire Adequate Insurance
Because your family may depend solely on your income, you should ensure that you have mechanisms in place to preserve your children’s financial security. Life insurance may be a good way to augment your estate if you pass.
Clarify Your Healthcare Wishes
Without the input of a spouse, it is especially important that your estate plan outlines your preferences about life-sustaining medical procedures if you are unable to make decisions for yourself at any point. It is also recommended that you designate a health care proxy agent to medical decisions on your behalf in such circumstances.
Consider Establishing a Trust for Your Children
Regardless of their age, a trust can be a particularly effective way of providing for your children. The assets in a trust are managed by individual or corporate trustees, and the funds are distributed to your kids at a certain time or under certain circumstances that you specify in advance. Trusts can be particularly helpful if you have minor children, as your assets may otherwise come under the control of the child’s other parent or a court-appointed administrator.
Trusts may also be a cost-effective planning tool to avoid a probate which may provide your family some level of privacy.
Speak to an Experienced Trust Attorney
If you are a single parent or have recently become one, it is important that you review and revise your estate plan as soon as possible. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney will allow you to do this in a manner that serves your best interests and those of your children so that their future can be secure.
We are here to help you with every aspect of this process. If you have questions or you’d like to schedule a consultation, contact us today.