Single Moms Need an Estate Plan

Single Moms Need an Estate Plan

Single Moms Need an Estate Plan

Imagine: You’re a single mom who works hard day in and day out to provide an incredible life for yourself and your children. But, one day you are involved in a horrible car crash and die instantly.

Although you had a list of people who would care for your kids (in your mind), you never discussed the issue with anyone or asked if they were even financially able or emotionally invested in caring for your kids. And you certainly didn’t write it down! ⁣

When you pass, your kids go to their mostly-absent father, your unreliable mother 👩🏻‍🦳, or worst-case scenario, your kids became wards of the state. It’s sad, and it tugs at your heartstrings, but the fact of the matter is that the situation could have been prevented if only you had planned ahead to secure your kids’ future!⁣

A wills and trust (or estate planning) attorney like me can help you plan ahead. I can help you designate who you’d want or wouldn’t want to be appointed as a guardian for your children, and help you set up a will or a trust to provide for your kids. ⁣ Setting up a trust ensures that your hard-earned money takes care of your kids and doesn’t get squandered by terrible family members! Do you have a list of family members you wouldn’t want your kids to end up with? Indicate their relationship below (c’mon, no names)!⁣


At Ibekwe Law, we can help you navigate sticky situations. Here is what one of our happy clients stated:
“As a single parent, there is nothing more assuring than to know they’re taken care of. I couldn’t imagine anyone doing as good of a job. She truly cares about the families that she works with, and that was evident every step of the way. If there’s any legal needs for your family, call Iffy today, you won’t regret it!”

Contact us today!

How to Choose a Guardian for Your Child

How to Choose a Guardian for Your Child

How to Choose a Guardian for Your Child

 

As a parent, our goal is not only to love our child unconditionally but to provide for him or her and make sure that they have everything they need to live a happy, healthy and productive life.


One of the best ways to provide for your child is to ensure that he or she is taken care of, even if we’re no longer able to care for them ourselves. And, the best way to do this is to choose a responsible guardian for them if we die or are incapacitated. A guardian is a court-administered individual who takes care of a minor child (someone under the age of eighteen).

In Texas, a guardian can be anyone that you designate; however, most individuals choose grandparents, relatives, or a close friend, like a Godparent, for instance. The key, however. is to think beyond the obvious choices. Extended family members and friends can also make great choices.

When choosing a guardian, it is important to hire an estate planning attorney to help you. Not only can they explain how to select a guardian, but they can also assist you in filing the correct paperwork.
Here are some questions to consider when choosing a guardian:

  • Are they open to raising your precious child when you are deceased or incapacitated? Be clear about how you want them to manage your finances and children, your finances, or just your children.
  • Do they love your child and treat him or her well?
  • Are they open to moving to your child’s community if needed? Or, let them know that you’re comfortable with your child moving to live with them.
  • Do they have the same values as you? For instance, they should share religious beliefs and parenting styles. They should also “be on the same page” in terms of ensuring that your children complete educational pursuits.
  • Is the potential guardian independent and a good decision-maker? I mean, they should have strong morals and good character.
  • Is the individual is not an alcohol or drug abuser and do they have the mental capacity to care for your child in your absence?
  • Are they financially stable–so that they have the resources to care for your child? In the event they do not, leave money for your child through a trust or life insurance.
  • Are they in good health?

Once you’ve chosen a suitable guardian, here are some additional things you should do:

  • Get an agreement in writing and be clear as to whether you’re granting temporary or complete guardianship.
  • Ensure that your will and trust coincide with any guardianship paperwork you’ve completed.

No parent wants to think about their impending death, but the truth of the matter is that we will all perish one day and as parents, we have to think about what will happen to our child if we do. By assigning guardianship to someone we trust, we can rest assured knowing that our child will be cared for if someone happens to us.


The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. At Ibekwe Law, PLLC, we can advise you about the proper procedure for setting up guardianship designations and assist you with filling out the required paperwork.

4 Ways to Protect Your Child When You’re Traveling Alone

4 Ways to Protect Your Child When You’re Traveling Alone

4 Ways to Protect Your Child When You’re Traveling Alone

 

Planning a trip away from your child can be extremely exciting but nerve-wracking, too. Not only do you have to make travel accommodations for yourself; you also have to decide who is going to watch your kiddo while you’re away. And, if you’re like most moms, you may be a bit cautious about leaving your child behind.

You might even experience a panic attack when you imagine all the bad things that might happen to you or your child while you’re separated. The good news is that you can stop worrying and start packing. By mentally preparing for the temporary separation and ensuring that the person who is taking care of your beloved child has all the documentation they need, you’ll feel better about leaving your child and can focus on having a fantastic time.

1.Short-Term Travel

If you’re only planning on being for a few days or months and you plan to leave your child with your parents, in-laws or another relative or friend, you should get a medical power of attorney for a minor. This document enables the biological parents or guardian of a child (under 18 years of age), to give their child’s caregiver, legal permission to act on their child’s behalf. That is, they’ll then be able to seek routine or emergency medical care, sign medical consent forms, for the child when the parent is unavailable to do so. This document needs to be notarized and signed by two witnesses.


2.Long-Term Travel

If you are going to be away from your child for up to six months or more, you should provide your caregiver with temporary guardianship to take care of your child while you’re gone. In Texas, temporary guardianship can be given with the Authorization Agreement for Voluntary Adult Caregiver form.

This form is signed by you, the parent, and an adult caregiver, who agrees to accept the appointment. Temporary guardianship is valid for up to 6 months and enables your chosen caregiver to make important decisions about your child’s care and well-being when you’re unavailable. For instance, they can make decisions about the custody, education, care and control of your child (just like a parent would).

This type of guardianship doesn’t suspend your parental rights but enables the appointed non-parent with temporary legal rights to make decisions on behalf of your child. In essence, the appointed guardian agrees to nurture the child’s emotional and physical growth as well as provide shelter, food, clothing, etc. Once you have this document in place, you can keep your children out of the foster system if, God forbid, something happens while you’re away.


3.Designating a Guardian with Estate Planning

If you want a more permanent solution to caring for your child, you may want to take this a step further and create a Designation of Guardian in Advance of Need document. This document provides the court with valuable information as to the person you’d like to take care of your child in the event of your death or incapacity. Once approved, it remains valid until your child gets married, is adopted, or reaches the tender age of 18 years of age (when guardianship automatically ends). With this document, you’re able to nominate your choice of a guardian.

Keep in mind that this document is only for the nomination of your child’s guardian and doesn’t control how your property will be divided – for that, you’ll need a will or trust. This type of guardianship can be revoked at any time by signing and notarizing a new guardianship form.


4.Gather Relevant Documents

Your non-parent caregiver should receive your child’s passport, birth certificate, vaccination records, health insurance and social security card, and health insurance card. These documents will enable your caregiver to take care of your child while you’re away. For instance, with a birth certificate, your child’s caregiver can register them for school, take them on a trip, etc. With health insurance, they can secure medical treatment in case of an emergency.


Leaving your child with a trusted family member or friend can be stressful, but when you’ve mentally prepared for the separation and provided your caregiver with the required legal documentation to attend to your child, you will have a less stressful trip knowing your beloved child is safe and cared for when you’re not there.

If you still have questions about temporary guardianship or need help with your estate plan, contact Ibekwe Law. Our experienced legal staff has the knowledge and expertise to help you figure out the best options for you and your family. Have a fun and safe trip!