Many people assume that estate planning is unnecessary unless one is wealthy. Consequently, if you are a single parent, you may think that you do not need a will or trust. However, in reality, estate planning accomplishes several goals other than distribution of assets. Because of this, single parents can greatly benefit from it.
Here are three reasons why all single parents should have an estate plan:
1. Selecting a guardian for your child
Most single parents are primarily concerned with the care of their child. However, if you don’t have an estate plan and something unexpectedly happens to you, a court will decide who will be named guardian for your child. This can be a distressing thought, as it may be someone that you do not approve of. However, an estate plan allows you to choose a trusted person to serve in this vital role.
2. Ensuring that your children will not receive a windfall
If you die without an estate plan, your assets will be distributed to your children once they turn 18. Although you may not have many assets, if you have life insurance, the proceeds can be substantial. Having access to this money all of a sudden may be too much for an 18-year-old. However, by having a trust, you can control when your children receive their inheritances and how they can spend the money.
3. Having your healthcare wishes respected
An important part of estate planning is naming a healthcare proxy that can make medical choices on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Doing this can greatly ease this burden on your children and family, as you will already have indicated the types of medical treatment and life-sustaining measures that you want (or don’t want).
These are just a few of the many reasons why you as a single parent should have an estate plan. As there is no estate plan that is right for everyone, it is important to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney, who can ensure that your plan is tailored for your unique needs and goals.