Raising children is incredibly difficult, and as a single mom, much of the burden falls on you to look out for their best interest. Whether you like to think about it or not, your children will be without your guidance if something is to happen to you.

This means that the court will decide what happens to your estate and who will take care of your children. They may appoint a family member or another individual who you do not trust or would not have chosen as their guardian, and that person has control of their inheritance. What’s the best way to stop this from happening? Start estate planning as soon as possible. Here are a few more reasons why estate planning is critical.

1. Underage Children Cannot take Ownership of Assets

If you do not create a will that names a guardian for your children, your children may be subject to harassment from family over inheritance or fall in with family members who do not have their best interests in mind. 

If you fail to name a property guardian, your estate may be tied up in lengthy probate hearings. By meeting with a probate attorney and making a living trust, your assets will immediately be transferred to a trustee of your choice. You can define how inheritance should be spent, such as educational expenses, medical treatment, clothing, and more. This allows you to manage inheritance until your children are of age, and the trustee is bound by law to use that inheritance to your specifications.

2. You Don’t Want Your Children to Lose Their Pets

If you pass away, your children are going to need as much normalcy and support in their lives as possible. By creating a pet trust, you create a support system for your child by guaranteeing their pet comes along with them to their new guardian. This ensures that your child’s pet will still be a part of their lives long after you’re gone.

3. You Want Your Finances Taken Care Of

If you are disabled or incapacitated, you may not have the ability to pay your bills. By assigning a financial power of attorney, you give a trusted agent the ability to pay your bills, maintain your home, and manage finances. If you fail to establish a financial power of attorney, a family member or friend would need to fight in court to obtain a conservatorship. This can be a lengthy and expensive process.

4. Let Them Know You Care

Establishing a trust, will, and guardianship are the most important steps, but writing a legacy letter can make just as lasting of an impact. This letter provides a personal, meaningful reminder of your love and can be a great tool for helping children to cope with grief.