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Should single parents have an estate plan?

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Estate Planning

As a single parent, you shoulder the responsibility of raising your child, often without the support of a co-parent. While it’s not something we like to think about, it’s essential to consider what would happen to your child if something were to happen to you.

This is where estate planning comes into play, and it’s absolutely crucial if you are a single parent.

Estate planning allows you to designate who will receive your assets and manage your affairs after you die or become incapacitated. For single parents, estate planning is critical as it also involves picking someone to care for your child should you become unable to do so.

Here are the key components that single parents should have as part of their estate plan:

1. A will

Your will allows you to appoint a guardian for your minor child or children in the event of your death. This is probably the most important document for a single parent. Without a will, the court will decide who will become your child’s guardian, which may not align with your wishes.

2. A trust

A trust can be beneficial for ensuring your children are taken care of financially. It allows you to set aside funds for your children’s future needs, such as education or healthcare. It also allows you to control how and when the funds are distributed, such as at a certain age or only for certain expenditures.

3. A power of attorney

A power of attorney (POA) allows you to designate someone to make financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. This helps ensure that someone you trust is caring for your child’s financial needs.

4. An advanced health care directive

An advanced health care directive, also known as a living will, outlines your medical preferences if you are unable to express them yourself. It also allows you to appoint an agent to make decisions regarding medical treatment on your behalf.

As a single parent, you are responsible for meeting your child’s needs. And while you hope to always be there for them for a long time, the unexpected can happen. You will want to discuss your situation with someone who can help you create an estate plan and ensure all your bases are covered.