Whether you become a single parent by choice or through fate, being a single parent is the furthest thing from easy. Life as a single parent involves a lot of decision making, coordinating and scheduling. From figuring out school schedules to who can pick them up from soccer practice when you need to work late, single parents are burdened with a lot of decisions.

At this point in your life, it is more critical than ever for you to plan out your estate. Your kids depend on you so what happens if something were to happen to you? You need to take the time to sit down and go over your estate plan, making the necessary changes to protect them in light of your new life style.

There are 7 crucial questions we encourage all single parents to think about and, to best help you, we have included them here:

  1. Who will handle daily obligations like I do if I cannot?
  1. Are my parents up to caring for my kids? If not my parents, who will be the best decision makers?
  1. Should I have one person in charge of health care decision and another in charge of finances?
  1. Does my surrogate decision maker know my goals for my kids?
  1. Does my surrogate decision maker respect and understand your wants and needs for your children?
  1. What if my first choice is unavailable? Who are my second and third choices?
  1. Have I given the right legal authority to another?

These are serious questions you need to answer to make sure your legal documents reflect your wishes.  But it can be hard to simply answer questions; you need to have a conversation.  Start by taking the time to write out short term and long term goals that you have in mind for your children. Not only will this help you visualize goals for yourself, documenting these goals will allow others to making decisions that follow your wishes.

Take action and plan ahead!  Preparing early and thoroughly will keep your friends and family from conflict or having to take things to court if something were to happen to you.

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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an Orange County estate planning attorney and elder law attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He is all about family and has a passion for educating his community about estate planning and how to protect what matters most.

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