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Estate Planning for Single Parents

The responsibilities of providing for a child are taxing enough for two parents. However, if you are a single parent caring for a child (or children) on your own, the weight of protecting multiple lives can incite anxiety, overwhelming fear, and thoughts of panic. You may ask yourself, “If something were to happen to me, what would happen to the kids?” The thought of not being around to raise your children is difficult to imagine, so ease your worry by preparing a plan for your estate that clearly states your intentions and secures your children’s financial future.

A comprehensive estate plan includes:

Establishing a Revocable Living Trust
A living trust allows you to manage your assets while alive but moves control to a conservator of your choice in the event of your death or incapacitation. The conservator of your trust should be someone you trust as they will be charged with administering and distributing your estate’s assets to your beneficiaries. A living trust also avoids probate court and keeps your child from accessing their inheritance until they reach adulthood to ensure it will be saved for important life investments like college, an automobile, or a home and not squandered on toys. To avoid conflicts of interest, it is recommended to have the appointed manager of your child’s inheritance be different from your nomination of guardian.

Nominating a Guardian
While your estate will go to whomever you want, the custody of your child will likely go to their biological parent or your ex-spouse — as long as they are capable of providing for your shared child. If your child’s other parent is unfit, your nomination of guardian will get preference.

Drafting a Testamentary Will
A testamentary will allows you to name the beneficiaries of your estate and who you would prefer as a guardian for your child. However, if you should pass without an established will or trust, your estate will go to probate court and a court-appointed guardian will be granted custody of your child. To prevent your child from going to someone you don’t want, it is important to draft a last will and testament.

Appointing a Durable Power of Attorney
If you become incapacitated or mentally incapable of making life decisions, you can name a trusted friend or relative durable power of attorney privileges. This will allow them to access your finances in order to pay your bills and provide for your child while you are still alive.

Considering your mortality is not something anyone wants to spend much time thinking about, but if you’re a single parent, you should make estate planning a high priority to protect your children. Knowing that your child will be provided and cared for should anything happen to you is the peace of mind that proper estate planning can deliver.

If you are ready to secure your children’s future, consult the BCN Law Firm in Clermont to help with your estate planning needs. Call us today at 352-394-2103 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.