For the most part, people who think about estate planning are those who have entire families to consider. However, those who are single also have concerns as they look to their futures, and estate planning is vital to everyone’s future. The approach that singles will need to take to such vital plans is very different than that of couples and requires more complex choices.
Even if you’re a single person without spouse or children, you’ll have assets that have to be protected, and you’ll need to determine your own final arrangements. While this can get tricky and scary, it’s also really important. Here is a breakdown of estate planning for singles, the choices you need to make, and how you can benefit from consulting an estate planning attorney.
Basics of Estate Planning for Singles
As a single, there’s a lot of difficult choices you’ll need to make in terms of your estate planning. The process of estate planning for singles can be a lot trickier and more complex because you don’t have ready-made trustworthy beneficiaries or people you can trust with your finances and medical decisions.
The Will: The Core of Your Plan
A will is the heart of your estate plan. It’s the document around which much of your other plans are built. It is the means by which you control how your assets are handled after you die. If you have children, even if you’re not married, you can name guardians for them after you die. You can set up trusts to care for them. If you do not have a will, the courts will likely determine how your assets are distributed and will likely sell them off to pay your debts.
Powers of Attorney
If you become medically unable to make decisions for yourself, you will likely require assistance of some sort. For married couples, this is usually a spouse. For singles, you may have to choose a sibling, parent, close relative, or someone else you can trust. There are two kinds of power of attorney to continue: the financial power of attorney and the medical.
Financial powers of attorney deal with your bills, assets, and debts. Medical powers of attorney cover you if you become disabled and unable to make medical decisions for yourself. This can include dementia, Alzheimer’s or a range of other illnesses.
Life Insurance and Retirement Funds
You may plan to use life insurance and retirement funds to cover your final arrangements. But someone has to receive those benefits. This kind of person is a beneficiary. You’ll need someone you trust to receive these benefits and apply them properly. Again, you may choose a close family member like a sibling for this.
Call an Estate Planning Attorney
These are just a few of the decisions you’ll need to make. There are also considerations like estate taxes and the like to think about. An estate planning attorney can help you through this difficult process and get your affairs in order, so you don’t have to worry about what happens if the time comes. Call the elder law attorneys at Stano Law for help making your estate plan today!