When studies are periodically conducted they find that most single adults are unprepared from an estate planning perspective. Perhaps this is understandable, because it can always seem like you will have time to plan your estate in the future.
However, this can lead to a pattern of procrastination that persists for decades on end. The truth is that every responsible adult should have an estate plan in place, regardless of marital status. In some ways you could make the argument that estate planning is even more important for single people than it is for married individuals.
Why would this be? Your spouse would be first in line to inherit your resources under intestate succession laws if you were to die without a will as someone who was married. This would probably be okay with most people. In fact, most of what you own may be community property.
On the other hand, if you are single, the laws of intestate succession may not be in line with your wishes at all. Let’s say that your father is still alive, and you have no descendents. For the purposes of this example we will say that you have no relationship with your father.
You may not want your father to inherit everything that you own after you pass away. Perhaps you have close friends and other relatives that you have had meaningful relationships with throughout your life.
Under intestate succession laws, your father would be entitled to your property after you die if you don’t have an estate plan in place.
Many single people have children. Some have dependent children who are still minors.
If you are in this situation estate planning is an absolute must. You should make sure that there are financial provisions in place so that the children will have something to fall back on in the event of your passing. This would typically be handled by the purchase of life insurance.
You should also nominate a guardian who would care for your children in the event of your incapacitation.
When you are married you may naturally count on your spouse to take on the heavy lifting if you were to become incapacitated late in your life. However, what if you are single? This is a question that you must ask yourself.
Many senior citizens do become unable to handle all of their own affairs at some point in time. The wise course of action would be to address this possibility well in advance so that you can create a plan that would spring into action in the event of your incapacitation.
Estate Planning for Singles
If you have questions about estate planning as a single person, we invite you to contact our firm to schedule a free consultation. We will gain an understanding of your financial situation and family dynamic, become apprised of your wishes, and provide you with the best possible legal counsel.
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Ryan M. DenmanandDennis D. Duffy
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