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What do single parents need to know during estate planning?

May 29, 2019 | Estate Planning

Being a single parent often comes with a number of worries. From providing for a child on a single income to dealing with the stresses of parenthood on their own, single parents in Florida already have a lot on their plates. While some might feel as if they could not deal with one more thing at the moment, it is still important to consider how estate planning could benefit both child and parent.

The death of a parent can be particularly traumatic for a child, but perhaps even more so for the child of a single parent. These children often end up having to leave the communities and friends they are familiar with in order to live with their other parent or another family member. While some aspects of this might be unavoidable, single parents can create a plan that minimizes undue disruptions in their children’s lives.

The first step is for a single parent to name a guardian for their minor child in their will. However, selecting a qualified and loving caregiver for a child is not enough, as the cost of raising children can be exceptionally steep. This is why single parents should also create trusts that house the money from their estate, including payouts for things like life insurance and retirement funds. A trusted individual — usually someone other than the guardian — should act as a trustee to manage the funds and pay them out as needed.

Single parents want what is best for their children, and those wishes extend to even after the parents’ lives have ended. It is not enough to hope for the best or to assume that the money from an estate will automatically go to a child, or that a guardian will use that money wisely. This is why Florida parents — both single and not — should make sure that they make careful accommodations during estate planning for their children’s future, including naming potential guardians and creating trusts as needed.