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A Guide on Estate Planning for Single Parents


All through life, we work hard, earn, and invest on properties. Being a single parent makes your hard work even double. You need to make decisions for the sake of your future and your children’s.

What if something happens to you? What would be the outcome of your children? Of your properties?

Estate planning is one of the most common options for planning ahead the management of your assets and the future of your children.

Planning about your assets after your death might not be a pleasant thing to talk about but still, it does happen and it will happen. Most probably no one out there would plan out for you.

Aside from the arrangement of your properties, the most important concern is the guardianship of your children. As per usual, when one parent dies, the other will take full responsibility and custody. However, on the event when the other parent is proven to be unfit or does not want to take custody of your child, you might as well designate a guardian to the child.

Sona Tatiyants, an attorney, said on BBVA Compass website that the most common mistake that single parents make in choosing guardians is not updating them.

For instance, if the person that you have chosen suffers from an illness and is not anymore physically fit to take care of your child, problems may arise at the event of your incapacity as a parent. It says that it is necessary to update guardian choices and to choose the most appropriate. 

Another significant point in estate planning is establishing a fiduciary relationship through trusts. This is where you put your assets in the hands of a trustee who will have the rights in the protection of these assets for the benefit of your beneficiary. Assign the management of your properties, as much as possible, to a person who is close to you.

There are two kinds of trusts; irrevocable and revocable. A living trust is revocable but is not considered to be your property anymore. However, you can still manage your properties while living. This may also help you avoid probate wherein the courts are to decide to whom your properties would be distributed. On the other hand, wills are a form of irrevocable trusts. This is only effective on the event of your death and may still go through the process of probate. 

As single parents, be responsible for your children’s future. Plan out so that when you’re gone you will know that they, including your assets, will be in safe hands. It would be much better to consult a family lawyer specializing in estate planning to be more equipped in these matters. Make yourself aware and learn more.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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