When most people think of estate planning, they think of the later stages of life—perhaps when a family is established or in preparing for the end of life in old age. It is probably the last thing on a young, single person’s to-do list; but it should be at the top.
Single people are out on their own and need to understand how important it is to have estate matters squared away in case of death. If not, tragedy may be followed by unnecessary trauma for the person who ends up managing the estate. Singlehood is not reserved just for the young and carefree; it can happen to anyone at any stage in life. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, singles have overtaken married couples as the majority population. In 2010, singles represented fifty-two percent of all households.
There are a number of complex and emotional issues that could be avoided simply by planning ahead. With couples, the law dictates that the spouse takes care of most issues, whereas singles have no option unless they so designate. It gets especially complicated if minor children are involved as they cannot inherit until they turn eighteen. Singles could benefit from establishing a will (to establish what would happen to assets), a durable financial power of attorney (to designate a person to handle financial affairs in case of incapacity), a medical power of attorney (to appoint a person to make medical care decisions), a living will (to specify what measures can be taken to sustain life in case of incapacity).
If you are interested in learning more about individual estate planning or creating a comprehensive plan to ensure that your family members are well-prepared to handle your estate, please contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri for further information. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.