Single moms do not have the luxury of ignoring their estate plans. Without another parent in the picture, you need to do all you can to ensure your children’s rights and interests are protected in the event of your death. One of the more valuable tools you have at your disposal for estate planning is the living trust, and this is an estate planning tool that all single moms should have.
With a living trust, you can ensure all of the details your children will need are in place should you pass away. From ensuring their pets are not separated from them to ensuring the right person is the guardian of your children in the event of your death, this tool can prevent additional stress and strain on your family and ensure your wishes for your children are carried out, even if you are gone.
What Is a Living Trust?
A living trust is a legal document that allows you to place all of your assets in the trust, so they are not tied up in probate after your death. Legally speaking, when you have a living trust, your assets are owned by the trust, not you directly. During your life, you are able to use your property as you normally would, but when you die the trust kicks in as “owner” of your estate.
When you create a living trust, you name a trustee, which should be someone you trust to manage your finances and ensure your children’s needs are met. In the event of your death, your assets stay in the trust and the trustee can begin using them immediately to support and care for your children, rather than being forced to wait for the lengthy probate process.
How a Living Trust Helps Single Parents
A living trust helps single moms in several ways. In addition to protecting your assets, it also allows you to name a guardian for your children. The living trust protects the property from minor children as well, while still allowing them to benefit from your assets. Instead of leaving property directly to your children, who may not be old enough to manage it well, you can leave the property in the trust under the care of a responsible trustee who will manage the assets until your children come of age.
Having a living trust also lets you add some protections specific to your family. If you have family pets, you can require that the pet stays with your child. This can prevent your child from losing a parent and a pet at the same time. In the trust you can also make your desire for guardianship to be clear. Barring any outside circumstances, most courts will honor your guardianship request.
As a single mom, you have to do all you can to protect your children. No one knows what the future holds, and a living trust ensures that your love and protection can continue after your death. Losing a parent is hard for any child, and a living trust helps reduce some of the stress that comes after an unexpected loss.
If you are a single mom, you need a living will. Reach out to HML to discuss these needs with a qualified estate planning attorney.