Estate planning is essential if you are a single parent. Raising a child alone is difficult, as many Pittsburgh parents may already be aware. Single parents have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, and their days are spent running from work to children’s activities, ensuring that their children are taken care of in every way possible. However, what happens if a day comes when you are unable to take care of your child? Have you taken the necessary steps to ensure that your children and their needs are met even after you are unable to do so?

These are tough decisions and include making choices, such as who would take care of the children if you were unable to do so and who would pay for their housing and education. Luckily, there is still time to prepare a carefully crafted estate plan that can reduce stress if the unexpected occurs.

Many people do not know that dying without a Will can leave family members in turmoil. Estate planning and the preparation of a Will helps. The Will should include information about the person chosen to be the children’s guardian during their minority. If the other parent is alive and fit, he or she will be the guardian regardless of your nomination, but it is still prudent to name someone in case something befalls the other parent. In addition, the guardian of the children does not have to be the person managing the children’s inheritance. A Will can name a trustee to hold and manage the children’s funds until they are old enough to take over their own finances.

Another option for single parents is a revocable living trust, which allows the parent to remain charge of his or her own assets while able to do so but appoints a successor trustee to administer the trust in case the parent cannot, whether because of disability or death. The successor trustee can make distributions to the beneficiaries when the children are old enough to handle their own finances.

We all want the best for our children, and single parents face additional challenges. Having a carefully crafted estate plan, made with an elder law attorney, can help to ensure that our children are well taken care of in the future.