June 11, 2019
Five Estate Planning Questions for Single Parents
Estate planning is important for everyone. However, if you are a single parent, your estate plan is as much for your children as it is for you. You need to take steps to ensure that your children are cared for if something prevents you from caring for your children yourself. A Michigan estate planning attorney can help you develop an estate plan that gives you peace of mind and protects your children should something happen to you.
Five Questions You Need to Address in Your Estate Plan
- Who would take care of my children if I cannot take care of them?
If your child’s other parent is unable to care for your children, you need to appoint a guardian for your children. The guardian is responsible for the physical care of your children, including making decisions regarding their education, health, religion, residence, and activities. Through a will, you can appoint a guardian and a successor guardian to avoid the court from choosing a guardian.
- Do I have enough life insurance coverage?
Life insurance can be an effective way to provide for the financial security of your children if you pass away. However, you do not want to leave insurance proceeds to minors. Therefore, creating a trust through your estate plan can ensure that your children will have enough funds to provide for their needs and education without allowing them to have direct access to the funds until they are a certain age.
- What happens if I become incapacitated?
In addition to planning for your children’s financial needs and physical care if you pass away, you also need to have a plan in case you become incapacitated. Who will make medical decisions for you? Who will take care of financial matters for you? Through your estate plan, you can appoint an individual to act as your power of attorney for financial matters and health care decisions. You can also dictate whether you want to refuse life-sustaining or life-prolonging medical care, such as feeding tubes and respirators.
- What happens if I remarry?
There are many questions that you need to answer if you decide to remarry. Will you and your new spouse provide for each other in your estate plans or keep your estates separate? How will you treat joint assets in your estate plans? Will you need a trust for your children to protect their inheritance and provide for their needs? An estate planning attorney can provide legal advice and guidance as you work through some of these important estate planning questions.
The important thing to remember is that without a will, Michigan’s intestate laws dictate who receives your estate. You need a will to protect your children from a previous relationship if you remarry.
- Who should you name as the beneficiary for your financial accounts?
Minor children should not be named as the beneficiary of your life insurance policies, retirement accounts, financial accounts, and other assets that pass directly to a beneficiary. Who, then, should be the named beneficiary of these assets? In some cases, a single parent may name his or her estate as the beneficiary so that the asset passes through the estate with other assets. It could be more beneficial to name a trust as the beneficiary. A Michigan estate planning attorney can help you develop a plan to maximize the value of these assets for your children after your death.
Contact a Michigan Estate Planning Attorney for Help
It can be difficult for parents to think about what happens to their children if the parents pass away. However, it is crucial that single parents address this sensitive topic. Without an estate plan, you leave decisions regarding your children’s welfare up to the courts.
Contact our office by calling 888-390-4360 for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our Michigan estate planning lawyers.