Estate planning is essential for all parents. However, single fathers face additional challenges and issues when preparing their estate, especially if their child’s other parent has passed away or cannot care for the child. Our California estate planning attorneys can help you address common estate planning issues for single parents. Creating an estate plan gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your child will be cared for if you become incapacitated or die suddenly.
Four Estate Planning Tips for Single Fathers
1. Prepare a Will Immediately
A will allows you to choose a guardian for your child. The choice of a guardian is one of the most important aspects of estate planning as a single parent because the guardian will be responsible for caring for your child if you die or are incapacited. If you do not have a will and your child’s other parent cannot care for your child, the state decides who your child lives with after your death or upon your incapacity.
2. Create a Trust for Your Child’s Inheritance
You should also consider executing a revocable living trust. A trust can provide that your child will receive his or her full inheritance only when reaching adulthood. Until that time, a trustee will maintain the assets for the child’s benefit, and make distributions for the child’s health, education, maintenance and support. A sophisticated trust may also provide that the child may receive shares of the inheritance outright in stages, such as in one-third shares when the child reaches the age of 25, 30, and 35. There are a variety of trust agreements available. The type of trust you choose depends on your unique financial situation and your goals for protecting and managing your child’s inheritance.
3. Include Incapacity Planning in Your Estate Plan
A comprehensive estate plan includes documents that protect your right to make health care decisions and financial decisions for yourself, even though you may become incapacitated. Your estate plan should include a financial power of attorney that gives someone you trust the power to make financial decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
Also, you should consider including medical directives that appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions for you if you are in an accident or become ill. Health care directives may also include instructions for end-of-life care or life-sustaining treatments, such as feeding tubes or respirators.
4. Check Beneficiary Designations
Some property passes directly to a beneficiary outside of your probate estate. In other words, the property is transferred upon your death to a specific person. Examples of assets that pass directly to a beneficiary upon your death may include retirement accounts, POD (pay-on-death) accounts, TOD (transfer-on-death) accounts, life insurance policies, annuities, and some investments.
You will want to make sure that your beneficiary designations coordinate with your estate plan so that your child receives the property, if possible, without court interference.
Contact Our California Estate Planning Attorneys for More Information
It is hard to think about your child growing up without you. Contact us today for a consultation. Our California estate planning attorneys can help you protect your child’s inheritance and welfare in the event the unthinkable happens.