It’s an undeniable fact: being a single parent is challenging. Your child is always your first priority, but can you imagine what would happen to them if something happened to you?
If your child is a minor and you lose your life or become incapacitated, your child may fall back into the hands of their other birth parent, an outcome that may not be ideal. What makes it more complicated is who this birth parent is, as it might be a sperm donor, an ex, or other less-than-ideal person. If the other birth parent is not available or living, then the choice of Guardian issue may be even more complicated. What’s more, the new Guardian has the power over any inheritance you leave your child, your child’s physical custody and all property. Even if your child is unhappy, you will not have the authority to change this decision.
So what can you do to prevent this from happening? Estate Planning.
With Estate Planning for Single Parents, you choose the Guardian for your child, how your child will receive their inheritance, and more. The stories of one parent dying and their bitter ex-spouse inheriting everything, while minor children receive nothing, are not exaggerated.
Here are elements of your Estate Plan that can prevent this terrible scenario, and build a good life for your children:
Which child or children should receive your retirement accounts, including your IRA (or IRA Trust), 401Ks, college savings plans, UTMA accounts and annuities?
An agent can pay your bills, maintain your home, and pay bills for your children if you’re incapacitated. Choose wisely.
Who takes custody and care of your children after your passing? This may be the most important decision you make.
Life insurance! Pick a plan that has benefits that work for you and your family’s needs, and work with an attorney to fold it into your Estate Plan, without triggering massive taxes.
Advanced Healthcare Directive/Living Will
Who should make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated?
Naming Guardians, transferring assets and being prepared for your passing or incapacity is obviously important, but so is your legacy. Be specific about what you wish your child knew about what’s important to you, and what you wish your child will remember when you’re gone.
Pet Trust (optional)
Without their only parent, your child will already feel adrift. For many, a pet is a support system and a tool of comfort. Without specific Pet Trust provisions, your child will go to a new Guardian, but their beloved pet may not.
No single parent wants to think about a future where their children are dropped into a new life with a different Guardian, even if that Guardian is beloved. With Estate Planning for Single Parents, future mapping is a simple, affordable way to chart the path of your kids and make certain they have a bright, safe future.