The Estate Planning Needs of the Unmarried

Estate planning conversations often give off the impression that everyone is elderly and has multiple children. In reality, however, this is not true and people who do not fit this description require estate planning assistance at least as much as people who fall into more conventional models. 

For example, unmarried individuals often also need to create an estate plan that relates to the disposition of property health care proxies, or financial power of attorney. Without these estate planning documents, if an unmarried person cannot make medical or financial choices, someone else might not exist who will be readily recognized. 

Financial Power of Attorney

In creating a financial power of attorney document, you should identify one or more individuals who are capable and can assume financial matters if you cannot do so on your own. You then must establish your financial affairs so the individual can appreciate them and take over when necessary. You should make sure to show this person how you established things and how that individual can find whatever information is necessary. You should also make sure that the individual has a copy of the power of attorney as well as other relevant documents. Health care documents allow a person to designate one or more individuals who will understand your healthcare wishes. 

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance should often be prioritized for an unmarried individual. The way in which unmarried people pay for this insurance is often similar to married individuals. It’s often more critical for an unmarried person to make long-term care plans, however, because there is less likely to be others who can help the individual navigate long-term care options. 

Will and Last Testament

As with married individuals, when a single person passes away without a will, state law will determine how assets are distributed. Creating a will can help to establish the problem of asset distribution. 

While creating a will can help, it’s often a more desirable option for a single individual to have assets in a revocable living trust. One reason for a revocable trust is that state law might require an executor to provide notice to each individual who would have been eligible to inherit if no will had existed. Additionally, assets placed in a revocable trust avoid probate and the terms of the trust then influence how property is handled. A will should be created for any assets that are not placed in the living trust and that do not avoid probate. If an unmarried person creates a revocable trust, it’s also important to transfer ownership of property to the trust. 

Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary designations should be named for assets that do not pass through probate and are not contained in a trust. These assets most commonly include annuities, IRAs, life insurance, and retirement plans. 

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

The estate planning process is not easy, but a skilled estate planning lawyer can help you create an estate plan that achieves your goal. Do not hesitate to contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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