Being a parent inherently means there are countless decisions and considerations that must be made with the best interest of the children in mind. When a parent is raising children alone, the need for a comprehensive estate plan is imperative, as the fate of children may hang in the balance if a parent dies. Any Michigan single parent who does not have an estate plan may want to create one and include the following documents and provisions.

Single parents need to think about who will raise their children in the case of their death. Appointing a guardian may be the most important estate-planning decision a single parent may ever make. If the other parent is a fit and stable parent, that person will get custody. However, a single parent should always make a provision for an additional guardian in case that parent were to be unfit at any given time or deceased at the time a guardian is needed.

Another vital part of an estate plan for a single parent is a trust. Minor children can’t provide for themselves and can’t simply inherent a large sum of money or assets to use as a means of providing for themselves. A trusted person can allot funds for care and education, among other needs. A power of attorney will grant someone the power to pay bills and care for a child’s immediate needs if a single parent were to become incapacitated.

The unique needs of a single parent may be quite different from those of a two-parent household. Single parents in Michigan may worry about the future, as a lot may rest solely on their shoulders. Having a legal and comprehensive estate plan in place long before it is ever needed is one very important way for the single parent to ensure that wishes are abided by and children are cared for at the time of an incident and in the future.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Estate Planning and the Single Parent“, Alexandra Smyser, Jan. 16, 2015

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