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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Estate Planning for Single Parents in Fair Oaks, CA

May 7, 2013

Single parents tend to work hard for their children, so it’s no wonder that those in Fair Oaks and the greater Sacramento area want to protect the children they could leave behind should the adult be killed or become incapacitated. Every day it falls to the single parent to provide just about everything for his or her children, and with 13 million single parent households in the US, there are a whole lot of folks doing their best to provide everything their children need today. Working with a Fair Oaks guardianship lawyer is the right step to make sure they are also provided for in the future.

As a single parent, your estate plan may look different from that of a married parent. In those cases, there are laws in place to ensure that property and custody both have a means of passing to the surviving spouse. In your case, however, the courts would determine your next of kin and disperse your property, as well as appoint a guardian, based on California state laws. While it’s great that there are laws like this to rely on when a single parent dies with no will in place, it’s not necessarily such a wonderful thing if the person/people named are not those you would have chosen yourself.

For example, it’s quite common for grandparents to be given custody of a child upon the parent’s death. In many families, that would be the perfect choice.  In others, however, a better choice could be made. Perhaps there has been a falling out between family members, or it’s possible that the grandparents are either too old or just otherwise not in the right place in their lives to be starting over raising children.

If your child’s other parent is still living custody of your child would revert to that parent. That parent might also petition to manage your child’s money as the guardian of the estate. While there may be little you can do to prevent the other parent from having custody of your child, unless they can be shown to be an unfit parent, you can choose who should handle any money on your child’s behalf.

Clearly, appointing a guardian for your child or children is one of the most pressing issues for which to see an estate planning attorney in Fair Oaks. It’s not the only one, though. This lawyer can also help you to create a financial plan that can help support your child even if you aren’t there. You might be advised to look into a life insurance policy or to participate in a California college savings plan. Likely, a guardianship lawyer in Fair Oaks will also help you to create a trust or trusts that can not only protect some of that money from being heavily taxed, but also give you some say over how the money is to be used and by whom.

An estate planning attorney will also help you to make sure that everything is in order. He or she will ask you about bank accounts, insurance policies, retirement accounts, and even military service, as all of these can possibly be directed to the care of your child or children. Every family, no matter what the marital status is, is unique. With the help of a Fair Oaks will and trust lawyer, you can put together a plan that works for your specific situation.

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A wonderful job! After watching my family deal with litigation after a death, this is so important for everyone, young and old.

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