This is an article from the Potter Law Firm (www.potterestateplanning.com) in Ashland, Kentucky, that we thought others may find helpful.
People who are single with no children often have fewer familial responsibilities than married people with children. But individuals who are childless and unmarried need an estate plan just as much as anyone else and perhaps more.
The need for incapacity planning is the same
If you were married and could not communicate your own medical decisions, physicians would normally ask your spouse to make decisions on your behalf in an emergency. Single people don’t have that option, so appropriate estate planning for medical situations is even more important for unmarried people. Many individuals are prone to procrastinate, but when you go through life without any type of estate plan, you are taking an unnecessary risk.
Everything doesn’t automatically work itself out
You may assume that the government will make sure that everyone you love is properly provided for if you pass away without any estate plan.
On the contrary, if you die without a will or a trust, it is called dying intestate. Once your final debts are paid, the state will determine who gets what. However, people that you love may be disinherited because these laws are just guessing at what the average person would want. Planning your estate with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney is the only way you can be certain that your specific wishes are carried out.
Estate planning is relevant to young people
We all hear about people passing away at young ages. You never know what the future holds and you cannot be certain that you will have time to plan your estate down the road. As soon as you are a self-supporting, responsible adult, you should have an estate plan in place.
A will is not the only option
Many people equate estate planning with a last will and testament. In fact, a will is not the best choice for many people. If you use a last will, your beneficiaries would receive lump-sum inheritances. Not everyone is a good money manager and this can be a problem if you have a spendthrift in the family. One alternative is to create a revocable living trust and use the trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan instead of a will. You keep control of the assets while you are living, but you can provide more protection for your beneficiaries after you are gone. You should explore the possibilities and make fully informed decisions.
Living trusts allow you to plan for incapacity too
While powers of attorney for property are essential as part of an estate plan, another advantage that you gain with a revocable living trust is greater protection in case of incapacity. Unfortunately, since Alzheimer’s disease is a leading culprit among seniors, many individuals eventually become unable to handle their own finances. With a trust, you can select a disability trustee to administer the trust if you become incapacitated.