If you are a single parent, your need to create an effective estate plan as soon as possible is even greater than that of non-single parent’s. As a single parent, the prospect of dying and leaving your child without adequate protection can keep you awake at nights. A single parent’s estate plan should take into consideration several key factors to ensure you ensure your child’s well being after you die.
It’s important to distinguish between different single parent situations. If you’re a single parent because the other parent has died, is not locatable or because you adopted, your need to have an effective estate plan is even greater than others. If you die, the court will have to decide who will be responsible fore taking care of your child, If you don’t take action now, it may name someone, such as a family member, of whom you do not approve. On the other hand, if you are a single parent because of a divorce or breakdown of the relationship between you and your child’s other parent, the surviving parent will still have custody rights over your child.
To properly prepare for the event of an untimely death, you’ll have to ensure your child’s needs are met. This involves naming someone to act as a guardian for your child. A guardian is the person whom you choose to act as your child’s caregiver after you die. It can be anyone you choose, but should be someone whom you feel can adequately care for the child and who agrees to do so. You can name alternate guardians in the event one is unwilling or unable to perform the task.
You should also ensure your estate plan leaves behind enough assets to ensure your child’s financial well being. An estate plan should take into consideration any taxation issues or funeral expenses involved with your death, as well as ensure you pass along as much of your property as possible so your child’s financial needs are met.