Estate planning is critical for all families, including single-parent families. Unfortunately, many of these families in New York and elsewhere fail to create wills or set up trusts. Here are some tips specifically for putting together trusts as part of the estate planning process.

It is wise to create a trust that can accept money from the estate of the deceased single parent, including funds from individual retirement accounts and retirement plans. Ideally, the trust should also be able to receive life insurance settlements as well as other settlements, judgments or claims. In addition, the trust can name the intended guardian of the deceased parent’s child, which may be the other parent. However, if the other parent is listed, it may be wise to also include any alternates should the other parent not be granted custody of the child.

Furthermore, it may be beneficial to outline how any funds received into the trust should be utilized. In addition, the creator of the trust can dictate how much discretion to give the child at various ages. The trust creator can also clarify who can visit the child and even take the child with him or her on vacation, for example. Finally, the trust can detail who is permitted to provide advice on big decisions affecting the child’s life, such as those related to activities, sports, doctors and schools.

Many single parents and other individuals in New York prefer not to create wills and other estate planning documents simply because they do not want to talk about death. However, death is inevitable, so it only makes sense to be financially prepared for it. An attorney can help asset owners to set up estate plans that fully reflect their wishes and protect the best interests for their assets and their children long term.