Estate Planning and the Single Parent Kai is a single professional woman. She had an unplanned pregnancy at 31 and decided to keep her child. The child’s father who was in his mid 40’s wants nothing to do with the child and denied paternity. After positive DNA testing, Kia gets court ordered child support from the father, but no emotional relationship. Kia has sole legal custody. Kia shares a home with her widowed mother who does not feel she could care for her active 3-year-old grandson if something should happen to Kia. What are her estate planning issues? Estate Planning is just as important for single parent families as it is for same sex couples. In this situation, if Kia does nothing, and something happens to her, the child’s father could appear, take custody of the child and his finances with little consideration of anyone else in the child’s life because the preference for custody under the law is given to the parents. Single parents need: A will or trust to transfer property to the child or a trustee who will manage the trust for the child’s benefit A durable power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney A living will A guardianship agreement naming an alternate guardian if for some reason her first choice is unable or unwilling to serve as guardian including an affidavit setting out the reasons for her choice of one guardian over another. A single parent need not be wealthy to need these documents. Your estate maybe larger than you realize, if you receive life insurance as one of your employment benefits, funds in an IRA or other pension account, and a home you child or children could have significant assets. Additionally they would be entitled to Social Security survivor’s benefits based on you work record. Consult with an attorney experienced in these matters to determine what is best for your circumstances. Experienced estate planning attorneys Seattle WA of the Byrd Garrett PLLC offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Seattle WA. To learn more about these free resources, please visit www.byrdgarrett.com/ today.
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