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.
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 youngsters from a financial perspective. Life insurance can serve as an income replacement vehicle, and term life is affordable when you are relatively young.
Advance Health Care Directives
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.
Medical issues could arise when you are incapacitated that are not related to life support utilization. To account for this, you can add a health care proxy to name an agent to make decisions on your behalf.
Another necessary document is a HIPAA release form. This would give doctors the legal ability to share your health care information with the agent.
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, but there are some major drawbacks and limitations.
Another option would be a revocable living trust. You would not surrender control of assets that you convey into the trust, because you could act as the trustee and the beneficiary while you are alive and well. Speaking of the “and well” caveat, you could name a disability trustee to administer the trust in the event of your incapacity.
In the trust declaration, you would name a successor trustee to administer the trust after your passing. It could be the person or entity that would serve as a disability trustee, but this is not a requirement. Your children (and/or anyone else that you choose) would be the beneficiaries of the living trust.
Attend a Free Workshop
Our attorneys are holding a series of workshops over the coming weeks, and you can learn a lot if you attend one of these sessions. There is no admission charge, but we ask that you register in advance so that we can reserve your seat. You can visit our workshop page to see the dates and obtain detailed registration information.
We Are Here to Help!
If you are ready to take the final step to put an estate plan in place, our doors are open. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 585-374-5210.