When you read articles or blogs about estate planning, they mostly focus on married couples or people with children. Very few address the need for single people to have an estate plan. Whether it is because we assume that single people have not accumulated significant assets, they do not have children to worry about, or they are so young they have plenty of time, we tend to overlook the need for singles to take steps to protect their estates.
The fact is that none of these assumptions are correct. Single persons can and do have significant assets, some single persons have children, and, unfortunately, youth is not a guarantee that you have plenty of time for estate planning. Even if a single person does not have many assets or children, estate planning is just as important and vital for singles as it is for married couples.
What Should a Single Person Concentrate on During Estate Planning?
As with married couples, the types of documents a single person will need to ensure his or her wishes are carried out at death or incapacitation depends on the specific circumstances and desires of the individual. It is important that you begin as soon as possible and you have some type of plan in place. Otherwise, your estate will be subject to intestate laws and the state will decide who administers your estate and who receives your property.
Last Will and Testament
A Will is one of the most important documents a single person can have as part of his or her estate plan. The Will acts as the foundation for the rest of the estate plan because it details how you want to handle your assets upon death. Through a Will, you can name an executor to administer the estate, designate heirs, provide for the distribution of assets, and provide for children, if any exist.
- Power of Attorney
A power of attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to handle your financial affairs in the event you are unable to do so for any reason. Many people use the power of attorneys to name a trusted friend or family member to handle their affairs and make decisions if they become incapacitated. There are several different types of powers of attorney to choose from depending on how much authority you want to give to a person and what you would like to accomplish. Your estate planning attorney will discuss the pros and cons of each type of power of attorney to help you decide which one is best in your situation.
Healthcare Power of Attorney or Living Will
It is important to appoint someone to make major medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. Furthermore, it is important that you set forth your wishes regarding end-of-life medical treatment. A Healthcare Power of Attorney or a Living Will allows you to name a person you trust to make end-of-life decisions as well as outline the medical treatments you want and do not want to be administered in that situation.
It is Time to Begin Estate Planning
You are never too young and you never own “too little” to begin estate planning. The above three estate planning documents are only three of the tools available for individuals to use. Experienced probate or estate attorney can help you develop a plan that meets your needs and desires.
For more information, we invite you to request a consultation with the attorneys at Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC. Their experience and knowledge can help you have the peace of mind of knowing that you have a plan.