Hello, this is Blake Johnson, your host for the trusted podcast Trust Attorney Las Vegas. And today we are going to be talking about state planning for single parents. Uh, it’s quite a different ballgame if you’re a single parent and uh, if you’re married and, um, you know, I don’t have kids or even if you’re married and do have kids. So single parents, estate planning, um, you know, the biggest consideration and thing you have to worry about is who’s going to take the kids because you don’t have a spouse there in case something happens to you. Now, if you do have joint custody, if it was a divorce that led to you being a single parent, then um, you know, the joint custody is going to say it’s going to go to the, uh, the child’s a surviving parent. That’s pretty clear and it’s going to be really hard for a judge to overturn that just because it’s already been determined that you guys are joint, uh, have joint custody of the child.
But if you are the sole custody of the child, either by divorce or because your spouse has already passed, then um, you get to decide who takes those kids. And you do that through your will, uh, that will, um, you know, you specify who’s going to be the guardian, the minor kids. We always recommend that you do a at least one backup with not a second one to make sure that who you want to take the kids is there. They do not have to be a US citizen. Um, although that definitely does help and um, they don’t have to be in this state, um, where they’re resigning unless, you know, you have a divorce decree that says they have to remain in the state even if you pass away. So those are all things that you need to do. Consider when naming regarding of her minor child.
But you definitely want to, you want to name who that person is and make sure that Trust Attorney Las Vegas, um, you know that, that you don’t leave it up to the court to decide. Cause typically they’re going to default to um, you know, family members who come and make the petition, who live close by. And that’s not necessarily the person that you want to be making those decisions. Another consideration is we always, if you are divorced and have joint custody, talk with your ex spouse. If you can, I know a lot of times you don’t get along with them, but you always want to be on the same page that um, you know, they put, they put in their will, the same person that you would want to take the kids. Uh, if something, if you died first, then it went to them and then they died. Uh, because really the survivors, the one who is going to determine, um, the second to die is going to determine who gives the guardian of those minor children’s in your will.
Um, now the second consideration is, and this one you have complete control over is who’s the trustee of your trust Trust Attorney Las Vegas. Because even though, you know the, it may go to, um, your ex spouse, the kids may go to your ex spouse. You don’t have to name that person to be in charge of the money, uh, that you’ve set aside for your kids. The successor trustee in your trust can be any person that you want. There are some restrictions on whether they have [inaudible] to be a US citizen. If the amount is over a certain amount, usually it’s about a just over $2 million. If it’s, if your estate is over that amount, then you have to have at least a co-trustee who is a u s citizen and, um, you know, that, but this is the person who’s going to be in charge of the money. So they, they’re going to be the ones who say what the money spend for.
That way they’re not, you know, it’s not leaving it up to the risk of, uh, ex spouse to spend it all on, you know, new, new spouse and so on. Uh, we can put protections in place so that you know, the kids have money to pay for college, that there is, um, you know, they get monthly amounts or they get the income that’s generated from it so that they have funds basically for the rest of their life. Or you can do big distributions where you can have a held in trust. So it’s protected from creditors and bankruptcy and lawsuits, divorce and so on. And so a lot of cool things we can do with protecting the trust assets. Um, you know, if you’re a single parent and you have those concerns, um, other considerations is by doing a trust. Um, you are essentially doing a prenup without having to get the other person’s permission.
Because, you know, I know at the time you had divorced, you may not be, or even when your spouse dies and you’re not thinking about remarriage, but it is a possibility. So by having that trust in place, um, well in advance showing the [inaudible] date that you transferred all the assets in there, as long as you keep those assets in your trust name and don’t commingle them, meaning putting, um, you know, new spouse as a joint owner on those accounts are separate property. They would never be subject to the divorce because we can clearly show that it was your property prior to the marriage. So it’s, you know, really out of contagious. If you can’t get the other person to sign off on a Prenup, um, by doing that living trust, now I would still recommend that you do the prenup because it’s a lot clear when you have their signature saying, Yep, I recognize that you have those assets and I recognize that those will remain yours.
Um, you know, if we ever get divorced, uh, you know, cause it helps eliminate some, uh, some fighting cause it’s clear there. Uh, but even if you don’t get that Prenup, like I said, it, you have the, the clear, uh, evidence that shows this was your separate property. We can show that to the judge. It just may take a little bit more work to, to go through and show those records. But it is, it is just like a prenup. Those that makes those assets your separate property because they’re in the trust and we have the date that the trust was established. Um, other considerations is, you know, who’s gonna make your healthcare decisions. Um, you know, if your kids are older, do you want them to make those decisions for you? Or do you still want an outside party? Or sometimes it’s good to do a mix Trust Attorney Las Vegas.
Have your kids involved with someone else. Now they need to be at least 18 before they can list it as on that medical power of attorney. Uh, but you can always change that, you know, any, any part of estate planning, unless it’s an irrevocable trust, we can, we can change those aspects of it. So, you know, you may have more, um, uh, you know, updates as your kids get older, um, when you’re a single parent then than in a traditional, um, a couple that does their joint trust. Uh, so those are things to look out for. Um, the others, uh, your exemption for estate tax purposes. Now, right now, 99% of the population doesn’t have to worry about estate taxes because, uh, it’s 20, 19 the amount is 11.4 million per person. So, you know, really, we don’t have to worry about that, but let’s say, you know, Congress votes and changes it and we dropped back down to 2 million and that includes your life insurance out Trust Attorney Las Vegas.
So if you have a $2 million policy that’s gonna put you over that estate tax limit and when you’re single, you just have that one amount. Whereas if your joint, uh, if you have a couple, it’s per person. So essentially you double it if the trust is worded properly. So we can use both exemptions. So, you know, you may have more estate tax issues to make sure that, um, you know, that we don’t have to pay any estate taxes. Like I said, right now it’s pretty high. We don’t have to worry about it for too many people. Uh, but it is something to watch out for because that can always change. It used to be, um, you know, in the late nineties, it was a million, uh, then in 2001 to two, 2.5 and then in 2011, it started at 5 million indexed for inflation each year. And then with the new, uh, tax laws that, uh, were passed during the Trump administration, uh, that doubled again, two 11 million and it’s been indexed for inflation for a few years now.
So, uh, those are just some considerations if you’re a single parent doing your estate planning that are slightly different than the traditional Trust Attorney Las Vegas, uh, estate planning model for a joint trust of a couple. So, you know, big thing once again is guardian of the minor kids. Make sure you know, the person that you want is, they’re having a couple of backups. It’s make sure you tell your attorney what is in your divorce creed. In fact, actually I would recommend giving them a copy of it because that will help to, to know what we need to, what wording we need to put in your trust and in your will for that. And then, um, you know, let’s, let’s keep track of, you know, who’s going to be in charge of the money, how it’s going to be handled. You know, who’s the medical power of attorney? All those things come into play, um, when you’re doing estate planning for a single person. So, uh, that’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed it. And if you have any questions, you can always reach out to the trusted estate planning team. Things.