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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

Estate planning can be challenging for any parent. However, single parents have additional considerations because of their status as single parents. A New York estate planning attorney can help you develop an estate plan that protects your child if something should happen to you.

Estate Planning Tips and Suggestions for Single Parents in 2020

It is difficult to think about your child growing up without you. However, you need to consider the possibility that you may not be around to protect your child. Without an estate plan, your child could become a ward of the state. Even if you have a close relative who would step up to care for your child, without the proper estate plan in place, your relative and your child could go through unnecessary court proceedings to establish guardianship and conservatorship.

Five estate planning musts for all single parents are:

1. Execute a Will Immediately

A will allows you to name a guardian for your child in the event of your death. This estate planning step is very important if your child’s other parent is deceased or unable to care for your child. By executing a will, you choose the person who will have custody and care of your child after your death instead of allowing the state to make that decision for you.

2. Set up a Trust

Minors cannot inherit property. A trustee must manage the property until your child reaches 18 years of age. However, by setting up a trust, you control when your child receives his or her inheritance. A trust gives you much more flexibility.

3. Purchase Life Insurance

You want to ensure that your child has sufficient resources to pay for living expenses and educational expenses. If you do not have life insurance, consider purchasing a life insurance policy to provide for your child’s needs after your death.

4. Meet with a Financial Planner

A financial planner can review your savings and retirement accounts as well as help you set up college savings accounts for your children. Working with a financial planner can help ensure that your child’s future is protected.

5. Don’t Forget Incapacitation Planning

In addition to an estate plan, you also need an incapacitation plan. Your incapacitation plan should include a Durable Power of Attorney so that a trusted person can take over your finances if you are unable to do so. Your POA can pay your bills and ensure that your child has whatever he or she needs.

Additionally, execute a living will, health care power of attorney, and advance health care directive. Minors cannot make medical decisions for their parents. You need a trusted individual who can make health care decisions for you and enforce your choices for end-of-life treatment, if necessary.

Contact a New York Estate Planning Attorney for Help

Estate planning for single parents may seem overwhelming. Contact us today. Working with an experienced New York estate planning attorney can make the process easier and less intimidating. Working with an experienced estate planning lawyer also ensures that you have a valid plan that includes all documents necessary to protect your child in the event something unthinkable happens.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.