Estate Planning 101 for Single Parents – Orange County Register

No one likes to think about what would happen if they were incapacitated or dead. But we all need to plan properly for these possibilities.

For single parents, the need is even greater.

Please prepare the following documents for yourself and your child:

nominate a guardian

Who will be the guardian of your minor children if you become incapacitated or die?

If the child’s other parent is alive and has not lost custody, they have custody of the child as a matter of law. This is not hindsight. they are legal parents.

However, if the other parent is deceased or custody has terminated, the court must grant guardianship. Two documents are required to designate a legal guardian for a minor child.

First, name the parental options at your will. It’s a good idea to list a few names in order of preference. For example, “My mother Jane Smith, and if she is unable to serve, my brother John Smith, then my friend Carol Baker.” is emphasized.

Next, be sure to appoint a guardian in a document separate from the will. Another document is important because if you become stranded and unable to care for your children, your will will not be valid (alive). To avoid confusion later, please name the same guardian as you named in your will.

health care directive

A medical prescription states who is authorized to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so, and gives general instructions about the medical care you would like to receive. Document. All adults are required to complete the directive.

If you have minor children, you must also complete a “medical representative appointment”. This is a document authorizing another party to make decisions about your child’s medical care if you are unable to do so. This may be necessary, for example, if you and your child have been in a car accident and are unable to accommodate approval for your child’s health care, hospitalization, or other treatment.

will and trust

If you have minor children, you have every reason to gain will and trust. As noted above, a will may provide for the designation of guardians for minor children. The trust holds assets (life insurance proceeds) for the child until the child reaches a certain age (e.g. half her at 25, her remaining third at 30, and all of that). and possibly retirement benefits). 35 years old).

The trust is administered by a successor “trustee” as specified in the trust documents.

Even if the child’s other parent lives and the child lives with that parent, your assets will be held separately within the trust and distributed by the trustee only under certain conditions set by you. may occur. This way, your ex-spouse cannot use your assets and your children will not receive the funds until they are mature enough to handle them as well.

If you had minor children at the time of your death and there is only a will, your property will be probated and the assets will effectively be placed in the child’s trust and the assets will belong to the child when the child reaches the age of 18. . . It’s an expensive and inefficient “plan”, but it’s what California has in store if you don’t take the time to set up a trust and implement your own plan.

Children 18 and over

When a child turns 18, he or she becomes a legal adult. Therefore, a guardian nomination is no longer required and the nomination of a health care representative no longer applies. Instead, have an adult child (18+!) run her own medical order, power of attorney, and her HIPAA form. This is especially true if your parents are divorced. Since both parents are legal “next kin” (for unmarried children), it may be important to have documentation showing which parent can act on behalf of the child.

As a single parent, you have a lot to deal with. But having these important legal documents ready makes things much easier in case of an emergency. When it comes to parenting, it’s good to keep in mind the old adage, “hop for the best, prepare for the worst.”

Teresa J. Rhyne is an attorney specializing in real estate planning and trust management in Riverside and Paso Robles, California. She is also the New York Her Times bestselling author of ‘The Dog Lived (and So Will I)’ and ‘Poppy in The Wild’.contact her Estate Planning 101 for Single Parents – Orange County Register

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