If you are a single parent, life for you probably couldn’t get any busier. You are likely being pulled between work, school activities, home, and the inevitable emergencies.
Being a single parent is a huge responsibility, even if you do share time with a parenting partner. This is because, as a single parent, your children’s lives are now largely solely in your hands. Thus, what would happen to them if something happened to you? Who would care for them? Who would pay for their needs and education? These are questions you need to answer. The best way to do that is through creating an Will and Trust.
Having an Will and Trust that covers the care of your children if you should be in a severe accident, fall ill, or die welcomes peace of mind for the single parent because it allows them to know that everything and everyone they love is taken care of. Here are the must-haves that can protect your children should something happen to you:
A will allows you to name the person you want responsible for your estate and belongings in the event of your death as well as who will inherit your assets. Most importantly this is the legal vehicle you use to name a guardian for your minor children as without a will, the state will decide their fate. The greatest risk you take when ignoring this piece of your Will and Trust is that your children could be taken into the care of strangers at any time.
Revocable Living Trust
There are multiple benefits of a living trust for single parents. First, a trust enables you to still control your money and property until you become incapacitated. At that time, it transitions that decision-making authority immediately to the person you have named as your trustee. If your children are still minors or even young adults their inheritance can be handled for them until the time comes when they are capable of handling such on their own. Plus, if you have a trust, your estate doesn’t have to go through the probate process which can be costly and time-consuming. Therefore, without a trust, you risk draining your hard-earned money on probate costs. Accordingly, this is not ideal if your children need to continue living in their homes and having their expenses paid.
Durable Power of Attorney
As a single parent, you are likely the only party on your mortgage, your bank accounts, and other financial instruments. What would happen if you became incapacitated and there was no one to pay the bills? This situation is why it is important to have a durable power of attorney in place. When choosing your power of attorney, it should be someone you trust managing your financial affairs, while also make legal decisions on your behalf.
Advance Medical Directive
An advance medical directive gives the legal power to the person you choose to make your health care decisions in case you are not capable of doing so yourself. This is especially important if you do not have immediate family members nearby.
Your life insurance policy, retirement accounts, and brokerage accounts all require that there be beneficiary designations on file. This is because those you designate to receive the assets in these accounts will only receive them if you execute the proper beneficiary forms! These assets cannot pass to your heirs via a will or trust. Further, minor children should never be named as beneficiaries as they are not legally able to own assets. Talk with us today, your Personal Family Lawyer®, about strategies to leave these assets to your children without court involvement.
Kids Protection Planning Kit®
Developed by a nationally recognized attorney who is a single mom herself, the Kids Protection Planning Kit® provides single parents with the legal planning tools they need to make sure there is never a question about who will take care of your kids if you become incapacitated. The kit includes legal documents to name short- and long-term guardians, instructions for those guardians, and medical powers of attorney for your minor children.
You can name your guardians right now with my Kids Protection Plan Tool, It only takes minutes, and it’s free.
One of the main goals of our firm is to help families like yours plan for the protection of yourself and your family through thoughtful Wills and Trusts planning. Call our office or schedule online today to schedule your free Family Wealth Planning Session™ for us to review with you how to protect what matters most. During this time together we can identify the best strategies for you and your situation.
This article is a service of Levi L. Alexander, Personal Family Lawyer®. We do not just draft documents. We help to ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. This is why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™. During this session, you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session for free.