Every adult can benefit from having a comprehensive estate plan in place. If you are a single parent, however, estate planning is even more important to ensure that your child is protected and provided for if something happens to you. To help you get started, the Indianapolis attorneys at Frank & Kraft discuss estate planning for single parents.
Why Do I Need an Estate Plan If I Am a Single Parent?
Whether by circumstance or choice, being a single parent can be difficult, yet nothing is more rewarding. As a parent, you want to provide for your child and protect your child. If you are doing all that by yourself, your estate plan becomes even more important. If something happens to you, whether that is your incapacity or your death, you need to be sure that your child is financially secure and that your wishes regarding your child’s future are honored.
Estate Planning for Single Parents: What Should Be in Your Plan?
If you are a single parent, your estate plan needs to be comprehensive and current to ensure that your child is properly cared for should you become incapacitated or pass away. While you should work closely with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that your estate plan addresses your unique needs and goals, some common tools and strategies for single parents include:
- You likely associate a Last Will and Testament with the ability to decide how your estate assets are distributed upon your death. While your Will can accomplish this, it is also the only official opportunity you have to nominate someone to be your child’s Guardian. If a Guardian is needed, a judge will likely rely on your wishes as evidenced in your Will when appointing a Guardian.
- A Power of Attorney lets you name an Agent who can act on your behalf in legal and/or financial matters. If you become incapacitated, an adult may need to step in and take control of your finances and/or give legal consent for something related to your child. A POA lets you give something the legal authority they need in such situations. Making the POA durable means that it will survive your own incapacity.
- If you are incapacitated and unable to make or communicate your wishes regarding healthcare treatment or procedures, someone else will need to make those decisions for you. By executing a Healthcare Power of Attorney, one of two important advance directives, you can decide who that person will be.
- Your minor child cannot legally inherit directly from your estate. For most parents, that means they need to create a trust to hold onto an inheritance intended for a child. When you create a trust you will decide who the Trustee will be. The Trustee is responsible for administering the trust and protecting the trust assets. Many single parents make the trust that they create the beneficiary of a life insurance policy to ensure that the trust is sufficiently funded if they pass away. You can also use the terms of the trust to decide how the trust funds are used while your child is still a minor.
- Although a Letter of Instruction is not a legally binding document, you can use it to explain how you want your child to be raised. Basically, anything that does not fit into another part of your estate plan can be included in your Letter of Instruction.
Are You a Single Parent Who Needs Help with Estate Planning?
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you are a single parent who wants to get started with your estate plan, contact the experienced Indianapolis estate planning attorneys at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.