Estate planning is important for everyone—young and old, wealthy and not, singles and families. But there is one category for which estate planning is particularly vital: single parents.
As a single parent, you have an even greater need for estate planning. What will your children do after you’re gone if you don’t have a plan for them in place? Who will take care of them? Who will provide for them? If you don’t have answers to these questions, it’s time to talk to an Alabama estate planning attorney.
So what estate planning documents must you have as a single parent?
First, you need a last will and testament. In a will, not only do you outline how you want your possessions distributed to your friends and family, but you also appoint a guardian for your minor children. A guardian is the person that will be legally responsible for caring for them if you pass away while they are still minors. Obviously, this person should be someone you trust. In addition, he or she should also be financially stable and about your age; if you choose someone older, he or she may not be around when you pass. It’s important that you make sure that your will is up to date. You should make changes after every major life event.
You should also have financial and health care powers of attorney. A financial power of attorney will allow someone to take your of your finances in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. A health care power of attorney will allow someone to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so—for example, if you are so ill or injured that you can’t express your opinions about your health care.
Finally, it is critical that you have life insurance. Life insurance can help to pay for funeral and last medical expenses and to provide for your children after you’re gone. Note that your children don’t have to get the life insurance in one lump sum. If they are not old enough to handle the money, you can place the funds in a trust with guidelines regarding how to distribute the money. If you do create a trust, you will need to select a trustee, or someone to manage the trust.
For more information about estate and financial planning for single parents, visit this recent article on ABC News. You can also feel free to call our office: we would be happy to help you determine what estate planning options are right for you.