Most single parents have little time to think about estate planning. If they're relatively young and healthy, many do not. However, things can change in the blink of an eye. That's why it's essential to ensure that you've made arrangements not only to ensure that your children are properly cared for, but that your assets go to the beneficiaries you wish.
It's also essential to have legal documents in place to stipulate who will make health care and financial decisions for you if you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. If you had an estate plan in place when you were married, that likely needs to be changed, unless you want your ex-spouse to make those decisions for you.
At the very least, everyone should have a will to stipulate whom you want to care for your children and how your assets will be divided. Don't just assume that those things will be decided as you wish them to be. When someone in California dies without a will, these things end up being decided by courts, and the whole process can get messy and expensive for family members left behind.
Besides a will, if you're single, it's probably advisable to have a health care directive in place that details your wishes about who will make medical and end-of-life decisions. A durable power of attorney is the document you use to grant authority to someone to manage your financial obligations and assets if you're unable to do so.
An experienced California estate planning attorney can help you determine which documents you should have based on your own unique situation. He or she can also provide advice on other actions that you should take to ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your family is saved time, money and conflict after you're gone.
Source: Conejo Valley Happening, "The Money Savvy Mommy: Why You Need a Will," Mira Reverente, accessed Oct. 13, 2016