Single with Small Children: Writing a Will

Single parents face unique issues when writing a will. Inheritance laws protect surviving spouses and not children. It’s possible in many cases to accidentally disinherit children, except most probate courts will reserve a primary residence for minor children. Here are some issues to address when writing a will.

Guardianship of the Children

Naming a guardian is arguably more important than property distribution in a will. It’s better for you to choose someone whom you trust to raise your children than to have the probate court choose a guardian for you. Financial and other circumstances, such as death, could also prevent your named guardian from taking care of your children. Name at least two alternate guardians to ensure that at least one of your choices can serve as a guardian.

Testamentary Trust

You should consider establishing a trust for minor children in a will. The fiduciary of the trust, which can be an individual or company, will manage the property and monies held in trust on behalf of the children. When they reach an age or certain ages that you specify, all or portions of the property is distributed to them.

It’s important to seek the help of an attorney when writing a will to ensure that your children are protected. At the very least, you want to ensure that your children will have a guardian that will serve their best interests.