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Wills and Trusts for Single Parents

I often hear from single parents that they don’t need estate planning.  Not only are they unmarried, they say, but they don’t have much money.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Single parents often need estate plans even more than married parents. 

Married couples generally they own their assets jointly, so when the first parent passes the other automatically retains the family home and bank accounts and carries on.  Single parents, on the other hand, generally own their assets individually.  If that parent unexpectedly passes there is nothing automatic about it.  The deceased parent’s estate must be probated in court.  This is a long and often expensive proposition.  It can be difficult for the children or anyone else to have access to the assets without court permission.

This is especially challenging if the children are minors.  Without a will or a trust making some other provision, the deceased parent’s assets go directly to the children.  Since they are minors those assets end up under the control of the surviving parent e.g. ex-spouse; who generally winds up with custody of the children.  When I explain this, most clients cringe at the idea of their ex-spouse controlling their home, bank accounts, cars, personal property, etc.

With proper planning a single parent can protect against this scenario.  Call us to set up a meeting to discuss your circumstances or just to ask a few questions.

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