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Estate Planning for Single Parents

Estate planning is important for everyone, especially if you’re a single parent. Getting your finances in order is an important first step to ensuring your children are taken care of in case the unthinkable occurs. Estate planning will give you peace of mind. As an estate planning lawyer, I promise you that the time and effort you put into your estate plan will not be wasted.

Estate Planning for Single Parents

As a parent, you might be worried about your children’s ability to manage an inheritance. You might be worried about their financial future. Proper estate planning will help assuage these fears.

Estate Planning Tips For Single Parents

Estate planning requires lots of preparation and thought before making final decisions with your attorney. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Create a list of assets and debts. Preparing this will make the estate planning process easier and more accurate.
  • Pick a child guardian and property guardian.
  • Meet with an attorney to discuss the different elements of estate planning.
  • Meet with a financial planner.
  • Make a last will.
  • If your lawyer recommends it, establish a living trust.

Estate Planning Questions to Consider

Who will take care of your kids?

This question is possibly among the hardest questions you will have to consider during the estate planning process. However difficult this decision may be, it’s a decision that needs to made. If you don’t choose a guardian for your child and pass away prior to your child becoming an adult, your kid could be placed in care of a court appointed guardian.

Who will receive your assets?

As a single parent you want to guarantee that your children will be the ones receiving your assets. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s something that needs to be put in writing to ensure that your money goes where you want it to go.

When and how will your children receive your assets?

Estate planning allows you to control when and how your children will receive money or valuable property.

Do you need life insurance?

Life insurance is a good, sound investment for everyone, especially single parents.

Should you consider a revocable trust?

Also referred to as a living trust, a revocable trust allows people to manage assets while they’re alive, but upon your death, the trustee you’ve named will be in charge of your assets. A good revocable trust enables people to avoid probate.

Understanding Child Custody Laws

Dealing with family issues can be difficult, and Alder Law Group understands the hardships child custody can bring, so we are here to help. Because child custody isn’t always easy on parents, we strive to serve you with compassion, discretion, and understanding.

Understanding child custody laws can make the situation easier on both the parents and children. First, child custody is the legal status given by the court for the caring and control of a child. Even if the parents of a child were never married, child custody is determined by custody sections in Utah’s divorce statutes. Most orders of custody are given to one or both of the parents of the child, and in some cases, custody is granted to another adult.

Types of Custody

There are two parts to child custody: Physical and legal custody. Physical custody relates to where the child lives, while legal custody determines which parent will have the right to make decisions regarding the child. When possible, joint legal custody is often the best option for the child’s sake.

Within these two parts to child custody lies sole and joint custody for both physical and legal. Take a look at what each entails:

  • Sole Legal and Sole Physical – If a parent is granted sole custody, the child will live with one parent and that parent will have the right to make choices concerning the child.
  • Joint Legal and Joint Physical – In this arrangement, the child can live with both parents and both parents are able to make choice regarding the child. This is most successful when both parents are willing to communicate and work well together.

In both cases of sole custody, visitation may be granted for the non-custodial parent. When joint custody is granted, the child must live in each parent’s home for 111 days of the year.

How Custody is Determined

The court grants custody to parents based off the best interest for the child. The court will grant a parent custody or visitation, also referred to as parent time, once it determines what is in the best interest for child. The best interests of a child are determined through a variety of factors, such as:

  • The parent’s’ conduct
  • The quality of the relationship between a child and parent
  • Which parent is more likely to allow visitation for the other parent

In some cases, the judge will ask the child for his or her preference, but this is not always taken into account when granting a parent custody.

There are also a number of factors that are considered when determining what type of custody will be granted to a parent. In granting joint legal or physical custody, these factors may include:

  • Which type of custody will best suit the child’s needs
  • The distance between the parents’ homes
  • The ability to cooperate between parents
  • History of child or spouse abuse
  • The parents participation in caring for the child prior to divorce


Visitation, or parent time, is granted to the non-custodial parent. State law requires a minimum visitation time when parents cannot agree on their own schedule. Much like determining custody, the court will decide how much time with the non-custodial parent is in the child’s best interest.

Free Consultation with an Estate Planning Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506