Estate Planning for Single Parents
Family relationships and raising children are often complicated, and that remains true even after you pass away.
If you are single with children, it is imperative that you create an estate plan to take care of their well-being, provide for property distribution, and outline guardianship details. Our experienced attorney at Aria Law PLLC can guide you through designing an effective estate plan.
Guardianship of Minor Children
Depending on the situation, another parent may or may not be in the picture to take over guardianship of any minor children. If you die without a will or a named guardian, the courts will automatically give guardianship to the other parent, unless that is not in the child’s best interests. If a parent isn’t given guardianship, the courts will next look at grandparents. When there is more than one living grandparent, the courts will decide which one should receive guardianship. If there are no grandparents, then the courts will look at the next closest relative. If there are no relatives, or no relative is willing to become the guardian, the courts will appoint another person it deems qualified.
As you can see, without a will or documented guardian, your children could end up being raised by someone you would rather not have that role. Naming a guardian for minor children is a critical element in any estate plan for single parents.
Providing Financially for Minor Children
Like guardianship, dying without a will or estate plan means your assets will be distributed according to Texas’ intestate succession laws. The assets of a single parent are equally divided among surviving children. Stepchildren or foster children you never formally adopted are not considered the same as biological or adopted children. They will not receive a share under the Texas laws of intestacy. Only through wills and trusts would you be able to leave any property to a stepchild.
If you do not have a life insurance policy, buy one today. If you have a policy, assess whether the death benefits would be adequate to take care of your children upon your death. With minor children, you will need to name an adult beneficiary who will use the benefits to support your children. Our attorney can draw up the required documents to confirm how the money from the insurance policy will be used for your children.
Creating Powers of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is important if you become incapacitated due to injury or illness. The person you name has the authority to pay your bills, maintain your home, and make other important life decisions on your behalf. You can have a power of attorney over financial matters and name a different person to power of attorney over medical matters. The same person can serve in both capacities if you wish.
Protecting Your Assets
Even if you have a will that names who receives what upon your death, your beneficiaries may never collect any of your property. If you die with debt, your personal property and assets can be sold to satisfy that outstanding debt. A trust can help protect your assets from creditors and ensure financial and other resources are left for your children.
Two basic types of trusts are revocable and irrevocable.
Trusts can do more than create a shelter for your estate. We can create special trusts for specific purposes, such as education trusts (providing for college and other educational pursuits) and special needs trusts (ensuring that assets aren’t counted when determining eligibility for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income).
Provide for Your Children with Our San Antonio Attorney
Effective estate planning is an ongoing relationship. As your family and needs evolve, so should your estate plan. At Aria Law PLLC, we know that hiring a lawyer can be a difficult process of trying to determine who is the right fit and how much will that person charge.
When you work with our skilled lawyer attorney, you can rest assured that you will have a dedicated advocate looking out for your family’s needs and goals through the years to come. To add more peace of mind, we have a flat fee structure instead of charging on an hourly basis. You will always know how much it will cost for the work we do.
For a consultation on the estate planning process, call us at (210) 960-9996 or use our online formto schedule an appointment.
If you do nothing else, take advantage of our FREE website that allows you to name legal guardians for your children. With Kids Protection Plan® (KPP), you will know your children are raised by the people you want, not what the courts decide.