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What to Know About Estate Planning When You’re Single

Estate planning can seem like a simple process when you have a clear idea of who your beneficiaries and representatives will be. However, what if you don’t?

In many cases, individuals choose close family members to be the recipients of their estate and decide on what should happen in the event of their death. But not everyone has a carved path. There can be a multitude of reasons why this is, such as you have never been married or are recently widowed or divorced. Whatever the case, that doesn’t mean you should wait to create your estate plan.

As you inch closer to retirement, here are a couple of important reasons why single people need an estate plan:

Identify your Heirs

Typically, when someone is married and dies without a will or trust, their spouse would inherit most, if not all, of the decedent’s assets. But if you are single, your estate could be divided in ways you may not have wanted.

It could pass along bloodlines like your children (if you have any) and then your parents (if alive), siblings and more distant relatives. If no relatives can be found, then it could fall into the hands of the state. Any close friends, significant others, or charities you may have wanted to benefit from the matter would not be so fortunate.

At the bare minimum, it’s essential to create a will or trust, stating how you want your assets to be dispersed after your passing. Name a trustee to carry out your wishes so you can rest in peace.

Also, consider that estate planning is not a one-and-done affair. A lot can happen in a year. If any significant life changes occur, make sure you adjust your official documents accordingly. Even if you don’t believe that it is substantial, it is wise to look over your will every few years with an attorney to make certain laws haven’t changed and that nothing slips between the cracks.

Find a Decision Maker

This aspect is crucial, especially if you are in a state of health where you are unable to give your opinion. This can be a terrifying thought not to have someone to confer with doctors to determine what is the best treatment for you. Some single people may have children and various other relationships who they can rely on to be the point person for medical decision making. That said, every person may not have the luxury of someone to lean on.

In the end, you may choose to either enlist friends or family members. Selecting someone to act on your behalf is a safe way to go, so this person can spell out precisely what should be done. It may be a complicated process to decide who should carry the torch for yourself, as you need to be sure that they will be able to handle the responsibilities required of them. It’s better to address these matters sooner rather than later. Taking precautionary measures is always a safe bet.

As mentioned, everyone’s situation is unique. If you have any questions about estate planning and are single, Burrows Law Group is more than happy to assist with your estate plan. We have an experienced team that can help you with the process and keeps your best interests in mind. Call 972-703-4004 to speak to an estate planning attorney today!

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