Being a parent is a lot of responsibility, but being a single parent is an even greater responsibility. You have so many things on your plate, from maintaining a job (or a business) to keeping up with household chores to caring for your children—and their future.

It impresses us when we see single parents who have worked to build a healthy support system for their children, approach us for their estate planning needs.

And while estate planning for single parent families is overall similar to estate planning for families with two parents. It certainly involves some special considerations which we’d like to go through in this post.

If you’re a single parent looking to do estate planning, here are three important questions that you should ask:

Who should I select as a guardian?

You’ll need a guardian and a trustee to temporarily take care of your children after your death. Until your child reaches an age where they can responsibly assume the ownership of the estate assets. You can select your ex-spouse as a guardian. However, if that is unacceptable for you, or your ex-spouse is unavailable to take the custody for some reason, such as a court order, you’ll have to make sure that the person you choose iscompassionate and can be trusted.

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What happens if I become incapacitated?    

Tragedies can happen in life. You never know, but you could get involved in an accident where you can become incapacitated. Unable to manage and control your finances on your own. In such situations, it’s important to include a durable power of attorney and a revocable living trust in your estate plan to designate someone or group of people to make decisions on your behalf. It’s the pull the plug decision making that you can make when your quality of life is in doubt.

Estate Planning – What happens if I remarry?

About 70 percent of people remarry after their first marriage ends. Remarrying could add complications to your estate plan. This is why it’s important to include provisions in your estate plan, specifying the way your assets should be divided between your kids, your new spouse, your new spouse’s children and the children you plan to have with your new spouse. There are a lot of people to plan for.

If you need professional help to write up an estate plan outline for you,  contact us for assistance; our  Santa Barbara estate planning experts will be happy to guide you.