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Helpful Estate Planning Tips for Single Parents

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Estate planning holds significant importance for everyone – and particularly for single parents. It goes beyond the mere distribution of assets for single parents.

In this blog, we would address the unique concerns of single parents when it comes to estate planning.

The foremost priority for single parents generally revolves around securing their child’s future and ensuring that their child is cared for.

Often, as a single parent you may wonder – if something happens to me:

  • How will my child be cared for?
  • Who will take care of my child?
  • Who is going to pay for his or her expenses?

Here are some estate planning tips which single parents may consider.

Execute a Last Will and Testament (Will)

A Will is an important document for single parents.

Firstly, it enables you to appoint a testamentary guardian for your child in the event of your death.

Secondly, you can also set out the details of your child’s inheritance – including catering for their education, and daily living expenses while they are still below a certain age.

Without a Will setting out your wishes, you may be concerned that your child could end up with someone you do not trust to act in your child’s best interest, or even a distant relative whom your child is not familiar with.

Note that if there is another living parent, the parent would have an automatic right to custody of your child. In addition, without a proper Will setting out the terms of your child’s inheritance and how it can be used for their growing needs, there may be a risk that your child is not properly provided for after your death.

Establish a Trust

Another option would be to establish a living trust for your child. Although a trust does not allow you to appoint a guardian, it permits your estate’s beneficiaries to access your assets immediately and cater for your child’s needs, which can be crucial if your child is still young. A trust may also be accessed while a parent is still alive but otherwise unable to care for the child.

Trusts enables a trusted adult to provide financial support for your child without delay in the event you are unable to – including managing and protecting your assets to be applied towards your child’s health, education, and general needs until they reach adulthood.

Plan for Incapacitation or Loss of Mental Capacity

What happens if you become disabled, injured, ill or otherwise lose mental capacity – you may end up spending significant costs on your own healthcare or even on your own living expense. In addition to caring for your child

A comprehensive estate plan should also include a Lasting Power of Attorney which nominates someone to deal with matters on your behalf when you become incapacitated or lose mental capacity. This includes naming someone to make healthcare decisions, personal life decisions and also financial decisions on your behalf.

Consult an Estate Planning Lawyer

Understanding the benefits of having an estate plan is crucial for single parents. Consulting an estate-planning lawyer after your divorce or if you find yourself as a single parent can help you understand your legal rights as a single parent and ensure that your child remain protected.

An estate-planning lawyer can help you avoid confusion and fear regarding the fate of your child, property, and finances upon your death. They can also provide clarity on your behalf in case of disputes with family members over your estate or the care of your child.

Although thinking about the day where you can no longer be there for your child is scary and often challenging, it is a critical issue that should not be ignored. Ensuring you have a comprehensive estate plan in place is essential to safeguard your child’s interests.

Consult an experienced estate-planning lawyer who will take you through the various considerations and guide you to a decision which would best suit your circumstances.