Estate Planning and the Single Parent
NOVA Estate Lawyers – Leesburg, Virginia

You may be a single parent by many means: a spouse may have died, you divorced, you adopted a child, or had a child on your own. In any case, you are the primary caretaker of your child or children and need to consider estate plans in the event of your death.

Poor planning can cost your children a substantial portion of your children’s inheritance, and it is frustrating to see that happen when simple safeguards can easily be put into place. No matter how small or how large your estate is, it makes sense to protect it.

An experienced attorney, such as those at Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, can walk you through the processes of how to protect your children’s family home or other assets you’ve built up from probate and other taxes, as well as from predators who can steal from your unsuspecting children.

Create a Will or Trust
If you die without a will, this often results in your estate having to be subject to probate, along with the expenses associated with it and the paperwork , which can tie up your assets for an indeterminate amount of time and cost a substantial amount of money.

Sometimes parents set up a trust for their minor child or children. Through it, assets will be handled and controlled by a trustee of the trust and have primary responsibility for the management and distribution of assets. These funds will be used to provide the ongoing financial support for your minor child.

Trusts also protect children after they turn the legal age of 18. Even though they are now considered adults, they may not have the knowledge, skills or maturity to properly manage their inheritance. Your trust can designate yearly funds or delay inheritance of the entire estate to a later date.

Designate a Standby Guardian
Unfortunately, many people put off making a will because they don’t know who to designate as guardian for their child or children. You should designate a person or who is to have physical custody of your minor child, who is referred to as the guardian of the person.

This may or may not be the same person who is designated as the guardian of the estate, or manager of the financial resources. Sometimes it is wise to have different people managing money and children, as they have differing skills and qualifications. One may be better at parenting, while the other is a whiz at financial investing. If two people are designated, they will need to work together in the best interests of the child.

Some items to consider when designating a guardian include:
• Whether your child should receive an allowance.
• Whether the guardian should move into your home to care for your children, and if so, what is their legal responsibility for care of the home.
• Whether the guardian will be compensated.
• Religious concerns.
• Whether the person you want to be the guardian will accept the responsibility. Always ask before designating anyone.

Also to consider, if you have sole custody and pass away without guardianship security, the surviving parent may automatically be given custody, which may not be in the best interest of the child if the marriage dissolved due to abusive issues, a criminal record or homelessness.

As you can see, there are many issues that need to be discussed as you put your estate plan into place. That’s why you need the advice of an experience attorney.

Contact Your Attorney
At the Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C., attorneys Patricia Tichenor and Camellia Safi specialize in family law and estate planning to assist people with family law issues. Contact us today to set up your will, trust or guardianship plans.