Estate Planning for Single Individuals

October 18, 2022

Estate Planning for Single Individuals

Having an estate plan may not seem crucial if you happen to be single. However, a valid estate plan ensures that the wishes of an individual who is single are followed in a variety of circumstances. One part of an estate plan is either a last will and testament or a trust, which designates who should receive your assets after your death. Another important element of an estate plan specifies a financial and medical power of attorney, allowing you to choose personal representatives who will help you handle your financial matters and health care decisions if you should become unable to make these decisions for yourself. From pets to charitable giving, estate planning for single individuals is critical.

Whether you are divorced, have outlived your partner, or have never been married, having a solid estate plan in place can provide assurance that your intentions will be honored after you pass away, or if you should become unable to communicate your wishes. Contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Johnson Law Group to get answers to your questions, and ensure your legal rights are protected both now, and in the event of your death or incapacitation. Contact our legal team today at (720) 463-4333 or Text-to-Chat (720) 730-4558.

Choosing Your Beneficiaries

If a person fails to leave behind a valid estate documents, state law will determine where his or her assets will go. The concept which refers to dying without a valid will is called “intestate.” Intestate law, in most locations, dispenses a decedent’s assets to his or her spouse, children, and then the closest blood relatives.

However, you may have friends that are as close as your family members, and you may want them to inherit your property after you pass away. You may want your assets to be given to a charity or left to a long-term partner. Clearly stating your intentions in an estate plan will ensure that your wishes are followed.

Choosing Powers of Attorney

If you become unable to speak for yourself, and have not appointed someone to care for your financial or health care matters, the state can make important decisions on your behalf. The court may appoint a stranger or distant relative to act as your personal agent. Preparing a legal document ahead of time gives you the power to choose a person you trust to make these key decisions for you. In this case, estate planning for the single individual is important as these decisions may ultimately be made by someone you would not choose.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney, or health care proxy, names someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. If you become unable to communicate your wishes, having a medical power of attorney in place allows you to indicate what kinds of medical interventions you would allow, including end of life provisions.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney appoints a person of your choice to care for your financial affairs. Without this in place, a court would need to appoint someone to handle important financial matters, and this could delay access to finances needed to pay your bills.

Take Action Now

Many people put off the creation of an estate plan, even though they agree that it is important. Most of us do not expect to become incapacitated in the near future, or to pass away anytime soon, so creating an estate plan does not seem urgent. Unfortunately, this can have a devastating impact on you and your family. Here are some further considerations on the importance of getting started on your estate plan:

  • If something unexpected happens to you, your loved ones may be tasked with managing critical decisions on your behalf, and without your clear wishes expressed, this can cause disagreement and family disputes.
  • If you have minor children, the court will appoint a guardian for them, without knowing your wishes for their care.
  • If you have people who depend on you to financially support them, without an estate plan, your assets will be unavailable to them until your estate is sorted out.
  • Your assets may not go to the beneficiaries you might have chosen.
  • You may lose the ability to choose who will take care of your pet
  • You may lose the ability to choose to donate a portion of your estate to charity
  • Your estate might be taxed by the IRS in a way that you would not have chosen
  • You could lose the ability to create an estate plan if you become incapacitated.

Update Your Wishes

As your life changes, it is important to update your estate planning documents. You may have new choices for beneficiaries and updating your preferences can ensure that the family members, friends, and organizations that are important to you will inherit the assets you want to leave for them.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Although estate planning is easy to put off, estate planning for single individuals is truly critical. Planning now can ensure that your intentions are followed when you pass away or become unable to speak for yourself. Contact one of our experienced attorneys today at Johnson Law Group. Our compassionate and dedicated estate planning attorneys can help ensure that your legal rights are protected if you become unable to speak on your own behalf, and that your wishes are honored regarding your assets. Contact us today at (720) 463-4333 or Text-to-Chat (720) 730-4558.

Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
Divorce doesn’t have to be dramatic. For the litigants, losing your spouse is significant enough. But you can choose the way it affects your daily life. The only guarantee I can give is that the feeling that you have right now will not be the feeling you end with. This is a season in your life, and it must be approached that way.
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