Estate Planning Considerations for Single Parents
Being a single parent comes with many responsibilities that often go beyond what married people experience. One of the biggest sources of stress for single parents is the constant worry of what would happen to their children if they were to pass away or suddenly become unable to raise them.
There are several estate planning tools you can use as a single parent to ensure your children will receive the care they need, even if you pass away unexpectedly. Below are a few of those tools you should consider incorporating into your estate plan.
Last will and testament
All adults benefit from having a valid last will and testament. A will allows you to clearly state to whom you wish to give your assets and property upon your death. It also lets you name a guardian for your children if they are still minors upon your death. Without a will, the state will handle all asset distribution and guardian assignments for you.
If a court determines the child’s other parent is fit for parenthood, he or she will automatically assume care of your children — regardless of whom you name as the children’s guardian. However, no matter the circumstances with the other parent, you should establish a Nomination of Guardian document, just in case the other parent is unable to assume the responsibility. Typically, you will do that in your will.
When you have children who are still too young to manage their own assets, you may use a trust to protect those assets for your children’s future, while allowing you to maintain control over them during your life. With a trust, you assign a trustee to manage the trust’s assets upon your death and distribute those assets to beneficiaries per your wishes. You may set this up in a way that ensures your children will use the assets responsibly, as well. You may create such a trust in your will, called a testamentary trust, or as a separate document often called a living trust.
For more information on the various strategies single parents can use to protect their loved ones, work with a skilled Tampa estate planning attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.