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Sometimes, single people make the mistake of thinking they don’t need to worry about estate planning. The reality is that single people have just as great a need for estate planning as married people, if not greater.
As a single person, here are three top things you should consider:
1. Plan for incapacity. Nobody likes to think about the possibility of being alive but not being able to handle their own affairs. Unfortunately, incapacity can strike any of us at any time. If you were to get sick or be involved in an incapacitating accident, having advance directives in place can be invaluable.
Consider naming a trusted family member or friend as your agent for a durable power of attorney for finances. Doing so means you will have an authorized person who can access your financial accounts and information and make sure bills are paid without having to go to court to get approval to handle your finances. You should also create an advance health care directive, naming someone to be your voice for medical decisions and giving them authority to make decisions on your behalf.
2. Plan for management and distribution of your assets. Most single people also need a Will and/or a Revocable Trust. When you create estate planning documents designed for after your death, you can be confident your assets will pass the way you want them to pass. Creating a Will or Trust also puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you control over who will wind down your affairs when you die. This can give you – and your loved ones – peace of mind.
Single people with minor children can also nominate guardians to have physical custody of their children should the parents become incapacitated or die prematurely.
3. Review beneficiary designations. Don’t forget about your life insurance policies and retirement accounts where you have named beneficiaries directly with the insurance company or plan provider. These assets pass separately from your Will or Trust, unless you make them work together. It’s important to update beneficiary designations when your wishes change and to coordinate them with your Will and Trust, if applicable.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand your planning options and customize strategies designed to meet your goals, needs, and your budget. To learn more, contact us today!