If you are a single parent, there are a lot of daily struggles that you have to endure every day. You will probably need to manage your time between sports teams, school activities, work, and the inevitable emergencies that kept the lives of single parents busy everywhere.
Being a single parent is a big responsibility. You may have taken it voluntarily or not, but the lives of your children are now largely in your hands. So what if something unexpected happened to you? Who would take care of them? Who would pay for their housing and food? Who would pay for their education? These are questions you need to settle, and the best way to do this is through estate planning.
Having an estate plan that covers care for your children if you die suddenly, or is incapacitated provides welcome peace for single parents. Here are the elements that can help:
A will allows you to assign the person responsible for your heritage and who will inherit your property. The most important aspect is the legal vehicle that you use to appoint a guardian for your children. Without a will, the state will decide your children’s fate.
There are a lot of benefits of a living trust for single parents. First, a trust still allows you to control your assets while you can. However, if you die or become incapacitated, the authority immediately transitions to the person appointed as administrator (obviously someone you can trust and count to what you wished). If your children are still minors or young, they won’t be able to manage their inheritance. Your assigned administrator will handle your assets until the time comes that your children reach legal age. Plus, if you have a trust, your assets must not go through probate, which can be costly and time-consuming. Wills are also not the best idea if your children need to continue living at home and their expenses paid. A Jacksonville estate planning lawyer will assist you in managing your trust and other things involved in estate planning.
Lasting Power of Attorney
As a single parent, you’re probably the only signatory of the mortgage, their bank accounts, and other financial instruments. What if you become incapacitated and no one to pay the mortgage or bills? Therefore it is important to have a power of attorney in place. When choosing a person, it should be someone that you are confident that can manage your financial affairs, while also taking legal decisions on your behalf if you cannot.
Advance Medical Directive
An advance medical directive gives legal power to someone to make decisions for your health care if you’re not able to do it yourself.
Your life insurance policy, retirement accounts, and brokerage accounts require beneficiary designations. The designated beneficiaries will only receive those assets in your accounts if you run the appropriate beneficiary forms! They do not pass to heirs through a will or trust. Minors who are not legally able to own assets should never be named as beneficiaries. Talk with your estate planning attorney about strategies to overcome these hurdles in passing your assets to your children without the intervention of the Court.