Are you single and believe that you do not need to prepare an estate plan? The truth is, single people need to have an estate plan as much as anyone else. Even as a single person you likely have a strong interest on where your assets will go once you die. Also, you should have considerations in place if you happen to become incapacitated at some point in your life. Without an estate plan in place, your wishes will not have any impact on either of these things.
If you are single and do not have any children either, you will need to have a plan for what will happen to your assets. Things you will want to consider:
- Will you leave property, assets or assets to family members such as siblings or parents?
- What extended family do you want to include as recipients of your property?
- Do you want to include friends or a favorite charity in your estate plan?
Consider giving to Charity
If you pass away without a will, it will be up to the courts to decide what to do with your assets. There are alternatives to letting other people decide what happens with your property. One thing you may want to consider as a single person is to leave your assets to a favorite charitable organization. This method of donation will not only leave a legacy in your name but can also give you comfort in knowing the recipient of your assets is helping a cause you feel strongly about. Some organizations you may want to consider include a former school, a local arts organization, a homeless shelter or a non-profit organization in your area.
A contingency for health problems
If you experience some type of health emergency that leaves you incapacitated and you do not have some sort of planning in place, it will be left up to the courts to decide who will make both financial and healthcare decisions for you. To combat this, you should set up a power of attorney and a health care proxy to give the authority to a person of your choosing to act on your behalf. You can even set-up an advance directive which will provide instructions on how you want your health care to be administered.
One thing to remember about setting up your estate plan as soon as possible is that the terms you include in your plan are not locked-in until your passing. You can change your plan at any time. This is useful if you happen to acquire new wealth, get married or have a child. However, by not even having any type of plan in place means that if you do acquire these things at some point, you will not have any say in how they are distributed after you are gone.