Kansas Estate Planning Attorney Shares Tips for Single Parents
March 23, 2019
If you are a parent, your estate planning is likely to be focused mainly on your children. This statement applies whether your children are young or grown and whether you are married to their other parent, divorced, or never married. If you are a single parent, the following tips are designed to help you create an estate plan that is in line with your estate planning goals.
The first tip for the single parent who is making an estate plan is to be mindful of where your children live. It is possible that you live close to their other parent, which can make all things, including estate planning simpler. If your children live in another state or even in another country, become familiar with the estate and inheritance laws of your place of residence as well as theirs. That way, you and your estate planning attorney can predict and plan for any nuances in the law that could delay or prevent your estate plan from being carried out in the way that you had planned.
For single parents with young children, guardianship is a critical issue to address in your estate plan. Much of the time, a single parent expects that if something were to happen to them, their children would be cared for by their other parent. If that is the desired outcome in your situation, be clear in your estate plan about whom you want to assume parental rights and responsibilities for your kids if you die. Doing this ensures that any challenges to that person’s guardianship could be dealt with authoritatively. It is especially critical that you specify one or more guardians in your estate plan if your children’ other parent is not the person that you would entrust with their care. Work with your estate planning attorney to construct your guardianship provisions in a way that complies with the law so that if there is a situation where someone other than you must care for your children, that can be accomplished in the way you would like it to be.
Trusts are a useful estate planning tool for single parents with children of any age. Trusts can be used to receive and safeguard resources, and to allocate resources to children at various stages in their lives. They are also useful as tools for helping those entrusted with the care of the children by providing guidance on what you would like them to do as guardians. For example, your trust can specify who has what kinds of access to visitation with the children as well as who is authorized to make various types of decisions on their behalf. Your preferences for parenting may not be enforceable, but guardians often appreciate and abide by parents’ preferences for how they would like their children raised in their absence. One of the functions of a trust is that it serves as a vehicle for providing that guidance. If you are thinking of using a trust in your estate plan, your estate planning attorney can help you understand whether and how a trust can help you meet your estate planning goals.
Single parents with estate planning questions may schedule an initial consultation with the law office of J. Joseph Weber, P.A. by contacting us. You may also connect with us online. Our Wichita office is open on weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.