While estate planning is often done in consideration of a client’s family, it can be just as, if not more important for single people.
An obvious issue is who will inherit a single person’s estate after they pass away? If a will is not in place, generally the estate will pass to children, and if there are no children, then it will go to parents, then siblings, then aunts or uncles, or whoever the closest relative is. But if one is unaware of who their closest living relative is, or is aware and wants their estate to go elsewhere, it is important to have a will set up to designate that person. Maybe it is a long term partner that they never married, but want to support. Or maybe it is a close friend, or friend’s children, under state law, none of these people will inherit, but even a simple will can ensure the estate go where it is intended go.
On the other hand, maybe you are a single person with a child, and you want them to inherit your estate, but don’t have an intended guardian established. If that is the case, the court will appoint a guardian to take care of your child, typically they reach out to family first, but if there is a non-relative you want to raise your child, they will honor those requests if formally made in an estate planning document, like a will.
It is also important to have someone designated to make decisions on your behalf if you cannot. Having both a medical and financial power of attorney, as well as an advanced directive set up can be very important if there is no local family member to advocate for those decisions. A signed “Power of Attorney” that designates someone to make medical decisions for you if you are ever in a condition where you cannot is invaluable, and does not take long to complete, you just need to have someone that agrees to serve in that role and contact a lawyer to draft the document. Additionally, you will also want to designate someone to make financial/business decisions in your stead as well. An advanced directive can tell a hospital what level of care you with to receive if you are ever in a terminal or severely diminished medical state.
Lastly, depending on your net-worth and situation in life, a trust may be the best fit for your particular estate planning needs. If that is the case, setting one up can be beneficial to your heirs, whether friends, relatives, or a favorite charity, by avoiding unnecessary taxes and ensuring a smooth transition of assets between parties when the time comes.
Contact us Today It’s never too early to begin estate planning. No one knows what the future holds, but with a plan in place that provides for your own future needs and those of your loved ones, you can proceed with peace of mind. If you or a friend or loved one are considering estate planning for the first time, or are in need of updating an existing plan, please contact the attorney at Skillern Law Firm, PLLC by phone at 918-805-2511 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to also book an appointment with our firm using our Book an Appointment Online page!