A Case Study for Single Parents

by Jacqui Brauman

Sara, a single mother working part-time, with her pre-school children both in day care, had a car accident on the way to pick her kids up. She was trapped in the vehicle, with crush wounds to her legs, and a concussion. Emergency crews took hours to get her out of the vehicle and get her to hospital. Her phone was broken in the accident, and she didn’t have anything in her purse to indicate who her next of kin were or where her children were.

single mother

When she was late to collect her children from day care, they centre called her mother which was listed as the contact in case of emergency. Sara’s parents lived 3 hours away, but her mother didn’t answer the phone because they were away on a holiday. The father of Sara’s children wasn’t suitable, so Sara hadn’t listed him as a contact. The last resort for the day care centre was to call the police. The police took the children, and were able to determine that Sara was in hospital. They couldn’t find any other carers for the children, so they went into emergency foster care.

Is this what you would want for your children? If you haven’t planned for this circumstance, then who’s to say that the police and child protection services won’t get involved?

Sara’s accident could have been worse. If she had died in the accident, she didn’t have a Will, so she hadn’t appointed guardians for her children. The father of her children would have automatically become the sole guardian of her children, and he would cut her family out of their lives, causing an ongoing court battle for Sar’s parents to see the children.

Without a Will, Sara’s children would inherit her estate once they turned 18 years of age. In the meantime, it is likely that the father of her children would have had control of the estate as their guardian. This is not what Sara would have wanted. She would have wanted her parents to be in control of her estate, and for her sister to have been the guardian of her children. She would have wanted her children to inherit the estate at 25 years of age, or older.

The plans and preparations you make today could impact generations to come, and it is quick and easy to do the right thing for the people you love most. Best to take action while you can, and not have to use it, rather than leave it up to chance.

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