If you’re like many single parents in Indiana, estate planning may be one of the last things on your mind. You have a myriad of obligations you regularly meet and may have little time to consider your estate planning options. Even then, estate planning can seem complex and overwhelming.
An article by financial magazine Kiplinger discusses why it’s important for single parents to consider estate planning, how it can be beneficial, and how to get started. If you have any questions about how to get started, an experienced estate planning attorney can help guide you in the right direction.
Why should I consider estate planning?
If your children are still minors, your estate plan should be drafted with the intention of providing a solid support network rather than simply deciding where your assets will be distributed.
When establishing a will or trust, most couples will appoint their spouse as the decision-maker and primary beneficiary. Single parents may still devise an estate plan involving a trust and trustee designated to accept and manage the following:
- Assets and property
- Retirement plan
- Life insurance settlement
- Judgments or settlements from any claim
In addition, the trust conveys the deceased parent's wishes to the probate court -- including who should be involved in the decadent's children's lives. This may include:
- An intended guardian named by the trust, as well as alternates in case the intended guardian can't serve
- Which parties have authorized visitation rights
- Which parties are allowed to advise or consent on major life decisions that could impact the decadent's children
- How decadent's funds should be used
Where do I start?
When devising an estate plan, parents can allow total discretion over choices involving life decisions of their children. For example, funds can be reserved for a child to engage in extra-curricular activities or attend a college, or pursue a trade of his or her choice. That's why it's important to explore the needs of your children and future goals when drafting a trust. You can start by asking the following questions:
- Who will care for your children on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis -- including after-school care, meal preparation, transportation, and shopping for clothing and other necessities?
- Who will raise your children? Who will have visitation rights?
- Who will assist with decisions regarding health care and school?
- To which degree would your trust provide financial support to your children and how much money would they contain after your death?
- Would your children receive any monthly income, including Social Security payments?
The attorneys at Hocker & Associates LLC would be glad to sit down with you and help you draft a plan that best fits your family's needs and ensure that the process goes smoothly. Contact us today to get started.