Statistics show that some 13.7 million parents in the United States are raising children as a single parent. While many single parents are able to provide for their children without assistance, few take the time to plan for what happens in the event of their death. If you are a single parent, estate planning is important.
Here are three estate planning musts that you should discuss with your attorney to ensure your children are protected after your death.
1. Name a guardian for your children.
Single parents often don't have the support of the other parent to help them raise their children. This means that the other parent may not be there to support the children in the event of the primary parent's death either.
If you want to ensure that your children will be taken care of by a loved one after you pass away, you need to work with your attorney to name a guardian for your kids. The guardian will inherit legal control over your children, so be sure that you discuss this responsibility with your own parents, a sibling, or a close friend that you would want to become a parent to your children.
2. Name a guardian for yourself.
In the event that you become incapacitated, your children (as your next of kin) would become responsible for you. Underage children are not capable of making medical decisions or determining a course of care for an incapacitated parent, so single parents could find themselves as wards of the state without proper estate planning.
Be sure that you work with your attorney to name a guardian who will be responsible for caring for both you and your children in the event you become incapacitated. This provision will help protect you and your children from falling under state guardianship in the event you become seriously injured or incapacitated in any way.
3. Establish trust funds for your children.
Many single parents want to ensure that their children are financially provided for in the event of their untimely passing. Since minors cannot inherit, you will need to establish a trust fund and name someone you trust as the trustee.
The trust fund can be administered by the trustee to provide for the financial needs of your children until they come of age. Establishing a trust fund is a great way for single parents to protect the financial welfare of their children from beyond the grave.
Being a single parent comes with unique challenges, and the estate planning process can be unique for single parents as well. Work with your attorney or Law Offices of Bonnie M. Benson, P.A. to determine the best way to protect you and your children through estate planning in the future.
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