Estate planning is one of the most important things you can do for your children. If you are a single parent, you have unique circumstances that must be addressed to protect your kids.
No one wants to think about what happens when we’re gone, but if you’re a single parent you know you’re your kids’ entire world. Putting a plan in place for what happens if you died or became incapacitated can protect your children and avoid costly probate fees.
If you have minor children, you can set up trusts for them to ensure that their money is protected and not given to them until they are adults. You can also select a trustee to oversee your children’s inheritance until they are ready to manage it themselves, and designate what circumstances the trust funds can be used to pay for the expenses of your kids. As a single parent this is important because it allows you to designate who manages your estate, and not the court system.
You have the ability in your last will and testament to designate who you would want to raise your kids if you pass away before they’re adults. In many situations, the last surviving parent has the right to legally appoint the guardian for minor children. In absence of parents making this designation, a judge will be forced to designate who will raise your children. With a formal plan in place, this doesn’t happen.
Designate who can make financial and health care decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. If you have minor children, you may appoint another adult friend or relative as your agent on your power of attorney legal documents so they can make medical decisions for you in the event of incapacitation. You can always update your plan to put one of your kids, when they become an adult.
Most estate planning discussions involve providing for the children. For single parents, the stakes can be higher. When a single parent with young children passes away, the children are often forced to live with a relative or ex-spouse - leaving behind familiar surroundings. You are irreplaceable, and while this is a tough conversation with yourself to have, the peace of mind knowing your kids are protected if the worst happens is priceless. With a flexible system like MyAdvocate, you are able to update your guardian and estate decisions as your circumstances or family support network evolves, and keep your kids protected for life.
This post was written by MyAdvocate's team of estate planning attorneys.