Being a single parent is challenging, and estate planning is often pushed aside in the flurry of responsibilities like work, school, chores, and other activities. Most parents want what’s best for their children and part of that is making sure you have an estate plan in place to ensure your child is properly cared for in the event of your passing. An estate planning attorney can advise you on the best course of action to provide for your children and draft vital documents that protect their rights and interests. Having an estate plan in place can also give you peace of mind, knowing that your children will be well taken care of after you’re gone.
Elements of Estate Planning
There are several crucial elements that should be included in any estate plan. If you’re a single parent who owns a business, it’s also a good idea to talk with an experienced business lawyer about creating a business succession plan as well.
Last Will and Testament. A will gives you the opportunity to name the executor of your estate and its beneficiaries. Most important, it allows you to name a legal guardian or guardians that you trust to take care of your children. Without a will in place when you die, the court will most likely appoint a guardian and your estate will have to go through probate.
Revocable Living Trust. A living trust allows you to control your assets while you’re able, but if you become incapacitated or pass away, the named trustee will become the administrator of the assets in the trust. Trusts can also keep certain assets from going through probate, which can be a costly and time-consuming process.
Powers of Attorney. As a single parent, it’s critical to create a power of attorney for finances and the power of attorney for health care. In the event that you become incapacitated, this person can act as your advocate and handle your finances, legal decisions, and health care choices on your behalf if you’re unable to do so.
Advance Directive. An advance directive allows you to select someone who is responsible for making end-of-life decisions if you are incapacitated.
Beneficiary Designations. It’s important to keep in mind that minor children should not be directly named as beneficiaries of any bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets because they cannot make legal decisions. There are different ways to handle these issues, so talk with your attorneys to find solutions that best fit your needs.
It’s important to choose someone you know you can rely on as the executor of your will, guardian for your children, trustee, and power of attorney. These can all be the same person or different people you trust. A skilled wills and trusts attorney can provide valuable perspective and help you make practical decisions that will best benefit you and your family.
Do you need help with your estate plan? Our experienced team at Carosella & Associates can help you create a plan that protects your children’s interests and financial future.