Estate Planning for Single People

For single, unmarried individuals that do not have children, creating an estate plan is very important. First, if you pass away without a will, your assets will be distributed to your next of kin according to state law. If you have no living relatives, your assets will default to the state. Second, an estate plan isn’t just for distributing wealth after death. You can also designate powers of attorney in case of incapacity, plan for retirement, creating health care directives and make your final arrangements in advance.

Estate planning considerations for single individuals

Here’s what to consider when you’re creating an estate plan:

  • Who are your heirs? First, identify your heirs. Living children, parents and siblings are typically at the top of the list, but not everyone has living relatives. If you want to leave your assets to your best friend, for instance, you’ll need to create a will.
  • What are your assets? Next, consider and list your assets, including real property, personal effects, bank, retirement and investment accounts and more.
  • Do you have a prior estate plan? Some people become single as a result of a death, divorce or other major life events. If you created an estate plan before divorce or before a potential heir died, you’ll need to update that plan accordingly.
  • How will you pay for long-term healthcare needs? The majority of Americans will need long-term healthcare in their golden years. Your estate plan can help you make arrangements, whether that’s preparing for Medicaid or another method.
  • Who should make decisions if you’re incapacitated? If you’re unable to handle your own financial affairs or make medical decisions, you’ll need someone to step in as power of attorney. These can be the same person or separate people—and it’s always wise to choose backup options if your first choice is unavailable.
  • What do you want for your final arrangements? Finally, consider creating an advance care directive as well as funeral arrangements. Make sure that you notify your closest loved ones that these documents exist, and where to find them in case of emergency.

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, like James Bart Leonardi, LLC, will make the process easier. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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