Too many single people don’t think that they need an estate plan. However, they should.
A complete estate plan doesn’t just designate how your assets will be distributed after your death. You can and should have documents in place that designate who will see that your wishes are carried out and manage your affairs if you become too incapacitated to do so.
You can also designate who will take care of your financial affairs if you can’t. This will help ensure that your wishes will be known and honored not just after death but if an unexpected illness or injury befalls you that leaves you unable to speak for yourself. That can happen to anyone at any age.
A will is important because it designates who will receive your assets. Even if you don’t have a lot, most people have some personal property and savings. If you don’t designate whom that goes to, the state will decide. Single people generally name a family member or friend who is trustworthy and responsible to be the executor of their will.
Your estate planning attorney may also recommend setting up a revocable living trust and designating a successor trustee to distribute your assets as you’ve designated after you die. Depending on how it is set up, a trust can help trustees and executors avoid the probate process.
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The estate planning documents for your medical provisions are crucial. In a health care directive, you can designate things like under what circumstances you would want life support removed. This can save family members from additional anguish, not to mention arguments, since they won’t have the burden of deciding for themselves based on what they think you’d want.
You should also designate a health care power of attorney who will see that your wishes are carried out. As with your executor and trustee, this should be someone whom you trust and who is up to the task.
Finally, a durable power of attorney is very important for a single person to designate. This person will handle your personal and financial affairs if you’re unable to.
Everyone has unique concerns that can be addressed in their estate plan. Many people designate a pet care provider to ensure that their furry family members are cared for when they’re no longer able to. Your Pennsylvania estate planning attorney will discuss your wishes and concerns in depth with you.
Source: Forbes, “Estate Planning For Single People,” Douglas Rothermich, Next Avenue, accessed March 02, 2016
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