Single parents can benefit from holistic estate planning

The truth is that estate planning can be beneficial for anyone. Still, many Californians mistakenly think that estate planning is reserved for those with massive amounts of wealth and large families. In order to see its benefits, one just needs to be able to look closely enough at the details of estate planning, which can be especially helpful considering everyone's circumstances are different.

This week we will briefly look at estate planning as it pertains to single parents. Much of estate planning focuses on leaving assets to children, and for good reason. Children typically outlive their parents and are amongst the most trusted individuals to whom an estate can be left.

Trusts can be utilized to set conditions on the distribution of assets, and an individual can, for the most part, even dictate how long those terms remain in place. This can help ensure that a child is financially protected for in the event of a parent's passing, but that's not all it can do.

A trust can be a powerful planning tool when an individual has a minor child. Upon the parent's death, a child may be forced to live with what was once his or her noncustodial parent. Although this may work in many instances, in some cases a noncustodial parent is unacceptable.

An estate plan, even a trust, may lay out one's desires for the future care of his or her child. A potential guardian may be identified, and visitation arrangements may be laid out. Of course, the legal enforceability of these terms depend on the circumstances at hand and the legal vehicles utilized, but they are important considerations that are often overlooked in basic estate planning.

Estate planning encompasses a wide array of issues, not just the distribution of wealth. This is why Californians need to ensure that they have a holistic plan that meets their needs. Only then can they rest assured that their loved ones and their estate will be properly cared for when the time comes.

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