Estate Planning For Single Parents FAQs
Estate Planning for Single Parents: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
A lot of people have the misconception that only seniors at the end of their lives or people with serious illnesses should prepare for the inevitable: death.
In truth, everyone who has children and/ or real estate property, businesses, and other kinds of assets should take the initiative to do estate planning the soonest time possible. Death, after all, is something that comes when one least expects. Even if you do not “own” anything, a bare bones estate plan is a must.
This is why the idea of estate planning for a single parent isn’t as crazy a one as many believe. It’s a smart move, given the uncertainty of life. By preparing such a critical arrangement, a single parent ensures that his or her child’s future is protected and insured.
Here are some of the top frequently asked questions and answers about estate planning for a single parent.
Question: What is Estate Planning?
Answer: This legal documentation process is essentially a way of naming to whom (beneficiary) a person’s (testator) assets should be given to in the event of death. In the case of underage children, it will also document what happens to the child should the parent die or become incapacitated.
These stipulations are expressed in a will, which is handled by an executor. A testator’s assets (estate) may include cash, vehicles, investments, furniture and jewelry pieces, houses, and other properties.
Estate planning likewise involves specific instructions as to who can make decisions on behalf of the person making the will in case the person loses the capacity to do so.
Question: How Can I, As A Single Parent, Prepare for the Possibility of Being Permanently Disabled/Incapacitated?
Answer: Single parents should have a Medical Power of Attorney and a Living Trust so your children will be properly protected in case of your sudden disability.
Another legal safety net for accidental disability is a Financial Power of Attorney (also called Durable Power of Attorney), which gives your attorney or another chosen person the legal power to make finance-related decisions on your and your children’s behalf.
By creating a Financial Power Of Attorney, you will have a competent person managing your finances in case you lose the physical or mental capability to do so yourself due to an accident or illness.
Question: How Can I Regulate the Distribution of Inheritance?
Answer: If you wish to regulate the distribution of your assets to beneficiaries, then you should create a trust and a pour-over will.
It is best to consult with an attorney specializing in estate planning and trusts who can advise you on how best to document your wishes to ensure your wishes are legally documented to avoid confusion and squabbles after your death.
Question: Should I Make a Will or Should I Go for a Living Trust Instead?
Answer: It depends on what you want to achieve. A will is a legal document that would require being subjected to a probate court before the stipulations can be legally enforced, such as distributing the real estate properties to identified beneficiaries. Probate can be a lengthy process and involve taxes and costs.
A living trust, meanwhile, is a similar legal way of naming your estate’s beneficiaries. However, the trust protects all your assets while you are still alive and following your death. Unlike a will, a living trust does not require being subjected to a probate court as the trust can be automatically enforced right after the testator’s demise.
Question: Why Is It Wise to Nominate a Guardian?
Answer: Nominating a guardian should be among the top considerations of single parents when planning their estate.
While making the last will is meant to safeguard a person’s estate or assets, nominating a guardian is designed to ensure the safety and well-being of the testator’s children.
For a single parent whose estranged partner is deemed fit for the task, the care of the children will be given to the surviving partner regardless of the former’s nomination. However, if the surviving partner is deemed unfit for the role, then the nominated guardian will be tasked to look after the children.
You may nominate a guardian in a separate document (Nomination of Guardian) or include it in your will. Also, it is wise to have two different separate persons act as your children’s guardian and your will’s executor.
Question: Which is Better, a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust?
Answer: This one is a matter of personal preference.
An irrevocable trust, as the name suggests, does not offer you, the testator, a chance to make changes to the stipulations of the document. Such a trust removes all rights of ownership of the testator to his or her assets (estate), and the otherwise taxable estate is then excluded from the normal estate tax upon the testator’s death.
Meanwhile, a revocable or living trust allows the testator to make changes at any time once the trust has been made. This kind of trust is better suited for single parents since they have the freedom to make changes that they deem most beneficial for their children in case of their (parent’s) death.
Moreover, a living trust eliminates the need for probate, which means that the estate or assets can be immediately distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries upon the testator’s death. Such a certainty should be very comforting for any single parent, knowing that his or her children’s best interests would be immediately addressed in case of incapacity or death.
For Help with Estate Planning for Single Parents, Consult a Trusted Estate Planning Attorney
I, Andrea Aston, am a skilled and trusted trust and estate planning attorney with vast knowledge about estate planning for a single parent. With numerous clients, I have become one of the leading estate planning attorneys in the Inland Empire, Temecula Valley, and North San Diego County areas.
Estate planning services include preparation of legal documents such as wills, trusts, health care directives, and powers of attorney. I can guide single parents in planning how their estates or assets would be distributed in case of their death or incapacity, so you have one less thing to worry about.
For your convenience and safety if there are health issues, I offer clients free confidential consultation through phone or video call, as well as face-to-face visits at m office or our home or business. I also guarantee the process will be easy to understand with no “legalese” and affordable with competitive professional fees, expert guidance, and skilled handling of all estate planning matters.
If you wish to know more about the services offered, call me, Andrea Aston, at (760) 758-1565 or email at email@example.com for more details about your particular estate planning concerns.
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