Estate Planning for Singles: Issues and Essentials
These days nearly half of all Americans are single. If you are single and must deal with estate planning, it’s important to meet with a professional and consider the following points.
Over half of people go through life without making a Will, partly because they don’t want to think about the reality of death. When an individual who is married passes on, then usually the spouse acquires the possessions of the deceased.
However, if there’s no living spouse, then distribution goes to other family members, such as children, parents, siblings and cousins. Relatives are heirs by default in the absence of a will. In order to avoid confusion, single individuals should create a Will that specifies who will inherit their belongings.
Deciding on Asset Management
You never know when a health issue may prevent you from managing your assets, so it helps to designate specific people to oversee your property and make health decisions for you, if necessary. Single people need to consider making a list of trusted colleagues or family members who are capable of making decisions if a health issue should occur.
You can appoint such an individual to handle your finances and medical decisions through an Advanced Health Care Directive and power of attorney agreement.
Beneficiaries of Retirement Plans
When you enroll in a retirement plan you have the opportunity to name a beneficiary when you die, regardless of what is stipulated in a Will. Whether you are married or single, you should review your retirement account to make sure you still want the beneficiaries currently listed. If you don’t take action in naming beneficiaries, then a stranger may be assigned to your account and decide for you.
Establishing Wills and Trusts
The best way to protect your assets is to set up a Will or Trust by working with an experienced attorney. Be careful in your selection of beneficiaries and finalizing your estate planning documentation and keep in mind that each state has its own estate planning laws.
If you are single and you still don’t have any estate plan in your hand, start by preparing your Will and seeking the help of a trusted attorney.