Life for a single mother in New York is a challenge simply because she is doing the job of two parents. By taking some precautionary steps, she can set herself up for retirement. More importantly, she can make sure that her children are prepared for the potential of life without her if it happens sooner rather than later. Some people see estate planning as a tool for the wealthy. In reality, it benefits people in various circumstances, including single motherhood. Here are some living trust and will preparation tips for the single mother.
Make a list of all properties and assets
Estate planning is generally used by individuals with sizable assets because they are trying to minimize their estate tax burden. Everyone benefits from a living will and trust regardless of how many assets they have, especially if they have children. Therefore, a single mother needs to make a list of all her assets. Assets comprise anything that she owns, such as property, bank accounts and vehicles.
Name a trustee
Next, a single mom must designate a trustee. Her children are often the ultimate beneficiaries of her estate, but if she passes before her children are of legal age, she needs someone to manage the estate on their behalf. A single mother can designate a backup trustee too.
Nominate a guardian
Estate planning for a single mother is about protecting her children if anything happens to her while they are still young. Therefore, she is advised to nominate a guardian and a backup guardian for her children. This is an important decision because the guardian is going to watch over her kids until they turn 18 years old. A guardian can be a family member or another trusted individual.
Follow state law
Every state has its own slight twist on living will and trust laws, so before executing these documents, double-check that they follow state law. This is important so that any minor children left behind are not in limbo at a time when things are tumultuous for them.
For additional guidance, a single mother is encouraged to speak with an estate planning attorney.