Spouses, children, and extended family play a central role for many people when estate planning, but the interests and goals of single individuals are quite different. Though they still enjoy rich, loving relationships that carry all the positive qualities of being family, state intestacy laws do not recognize these bonds if you die without a will. Plus, you have no authority to choose a trusted person as executor or agent to handle your affairs if you are incapacitated. This is why financial experts agree that estate planning is essential for single people.
However, because your objectives are unique, your approach to a will, living trust, power of attorney, and advance directives must be custom-tailored. You cannot risk losing control over your life and legacy, but that is exactly what could happen without proper structures in place. You can rely on an estate planning attorney to explain details and assist with preparing the necessary documents. Some tips on estate planning for singles are also useful.
Choosing a Fiduciary
Estate planning encompasses multiple fiduciaries to handle different roles, including the executor of a will, trustees, and agents you appoint to act on your behalf. The logical choice for married couples is to name the spouse. Singles have many options, which is an advantage. You can choose someone you trust, who is able and willing to serve. It is also important to appoint a successor executor, trustee, or agent who can step in if your initial choice is unable.
Take Control Over Your Plan
If you do not take action to manage your health care, financial matters, and legacy, you lose out to state laws. Intestacy laws dictate who acts as your personal representative after death. Without a surviving spouse, adult child, or parent, your estate could be managed by a distant relative. Intestacy laws also say who gets what from your estate. A cousin you do not even know could be receiving your assets, instead of those with whom you share close relationships.
Considerations About Incapacity
State laws will also take control over your life if you are incapacitated, a time when you are extremely vulnerable and cannot communicate. Those closest to you are typically powerless if you lack a family relationship. A guardian or conservator must be appointed by the court, a time-consuming and expensive process.
Through estate planning, you can appoint a person to act on your behalf in incapacity. You can prepare advance directives to name an agent who will handle health care matters. With a power of attorney, you choose a person to manage your assets and finances. These documents avoid the need to go to court, and you can express your intentions on health care and financial powers.
An Estate Planning Lawyer Will Assist With All Options
Estate planning is every bit as important for single people, ensuring that what happens with incapacity and at death is what you intended. For more information on options and creating an arrangement that works for you, please contact Francois Williams Legal LLC. We can set up a consultation to discuss ways of achieving your estate planning goals.