Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 
Neal Wooldridge

a word from Neal Wooldridge
Vice President for Planned Giving

Estate Planning as a Single Adult

ESTATE PLANNING AS A SINGLE PARENT OR SINGLE ADULT IS IMPORTANT!

Are you a single parent with minor children, or a single adult? If so, you are in good company. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are millions of single parent households with minor children and a large number of single adults living in the United States.

Single mother with her daughterSingle parents of minor children must take on a lot of responsibility for themselves and their minor children. The single parent must sometimes manage alone through the emotional, economic, and legal challenges that life brings. This article focuses on some of the fundamental, legal challenges facing single parents, and single adults. Specifically, these may include making plans for the welfare of minor children in the event the single parent is unable to carry out their parental duties. This may also include any estate distribution to heirs. As a single person, the assets that are accumulated during a lifetime need to be placed in a good solid estate plan, which will transfer to the desired persons or charity when necessary. This transfer should be made by legal documents such as a Last Will and Testament, or a Revocable Trust.

Let’s talk minor children issues first, because they are the most valuable assets in a single parent’s plan. Even if the ex-spouse may not be fit to care for the children, they remain to be the natural guardian. What if the single parent predeceases the ex-spouse? The question becomes, "Has the parent properly planned and executed a will to appoint a successor guardian of the children?" One should not allow the court system the right to make this appointment. The single parent also needs to appoint someone to manage the funds that are left in the Minor’s Trust for the care of the children. This selection should be someone who can be trusted, who is money wise, and can manage the funds that will take care of the health and wellbeing of the children. In other words, protect their inheritance.

Now let’s talk about the needs of a single parent or single adult. Let’s say one becomes incapacitated. Who will make the health care decisions? One may want to appoint a relative or friend as the final decision maker of their health care needs. If the current Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney documents were made prior to a divorce or death of a spouse, and no longer reflect ones wishes, there would need to be a change made by revoking and developing new documents.

Whether you’re a single parent or a single adult, making your estate plan is such an important part of your future plan. Please contact me at anytime to answer any questions you might have that deal with the issues in this article. We have an excellent brochure about wills and planned giving that is yours for the asking. Use the button below to request the brochure or call our Vice President for Planned Giving, Neal Wooldridge at (405) 570-9836 or e-mail Neal Wooldridge.

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