According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 6.8 million custodial parents receive financial support from non-custodial parents. These payments are necessary for parents to afford the expenses of raising children.
If the non-custodial parent dies, these support payments might stop, leaving single parents with the entire financial burden of raising a child. Planning for this unwelcome situation may provide financial security from other sources.
While an ex-spouse may own an individual life insurance policy, the other spouse has no control over naming the policy’s beneficiary. If the policy owner remarries or wants to give money to anyone other than the child, he or she can change the policy without notifying the ex-spouse.
The best way to protect a custodial parent’s financial security is by working with the other spouse to purchase a policy with the custodial parent as the owner and beneficiary. If the non-custodial parent dies, the life insurance policy funds can replace child support.
The deceased’s estate
If an ex-spouse has any assets at the time of his or her death, the custodial parent can go to probate court and request ongoing child support payments from the estate. Most states prioritize child support payments from the estate over paying other expenses.
Social Security benefits
If neither of the above options is available, a parent may request social security survivor benefits for the child. This money is available for dependents of people who worked and paid SSI taxes at some point in their lives.
While thinking about the loss of a child’s parent is not easy, thoughtful planning may provide sufficient support for the child’s long-term welfare.