9th Nov 2017
Estate planning is just a important for single person as it as a married person or someone with dependants. However, there are different criteria and aspects to be taken into consideration for those who are single. In the following article, we will discuss how to handle estate planning if you are single.
According to the American Bar Association, 55% of Americans die without any type of estate planning. Legally, this is referred to as “dying intestate.” In this instance, when a person dies intestate, their assets are then disbursed based on the laws of intestate in the state in which they reside If there are no surviving relative, their assets would then go to the state.
However, if a single person dies intestate, their assets would go to their siblings or surviving parents. If there are no living parents or siblings, the estate would then be bequeathed to the descendants of the sibling. However, if there are no surviving immediate family members their assets will be divided amongst any remaining family members.
There are some precautions that a single person could take to prevent their estate from going to a member of their family to which they did not wish to leave their assets. Following are some estate planning essentials for a single person.
The Last Will and Testament is the main document of any estate plan. This will allow you to distribute your assets the way that you see fit. As well, you can name a legal guardian for any dependants and assign an executor for your estate. You should only appoint someone as your executor if you can trust them explicitly with your assets and property. If you do not have a member of the family that you wish to appoint as the executor of your will, you can then chose a close friend or even a third party such as a lawyer. As well, you could leave your assets to a designated charity or third party if you do not have a designated heir.
- Durable Power of Attorney
Your durable power of attorney is someone that you appoint to handle your personal and financial affairs should you become incapacitated or disabled. You should appoint a trusted family member or friend who has a strong understanding of financial matters as well as whom you can trust completely with your financial and personal affairs.
- Living Trust
A living trust is a document in which you place your assets and name your trustee in the event of your demise or should you become incapacitated. One of the main advantages of a living trust is that your assets will not be subject to probate. Your assets would be transferred to your appointed trustees at the time of your death.
You need to make sure that all of your insurance plans, trusts, retirement plans and so forth are up to date. You need to provide the name of your designated beneficiary as well as the required information. Regardless of what is outlined in your will, your benefits will go to the name of the person on that particular document (insurance plan, IRA and so forth) so you need to make certain that all of these documents are up to date with the correct information for your designated beneficiaries.
- Estate Taxes
As a single person, you can assets will still be subject to estate taxes if the value of the estate exceeds the federal estate tax exclusion. Most states are no imposing a state level estate tax. This is why a living trust could be helpful as a living trust can either reduce or defer estate taxes.
- Medical Power of Attorney
Medical power of attorney allows you appoint someone as a designed agent otherwise known as a health care proxy This person would then be in charge of making any medical decisions should you become incapacitated. You can choose a trusted friend or family member. Make sure that you have all of your medical needs and concerns so that they are covered and duly noted. As with your durable power of attorney, you should only appoint someone that you completely trust to make medical decisions on your behalf.
If you are single and have any questions regarding estate planning such as living trust, will, durable power of attorney or so forth, please contact Tompkins Law at 1-714-385-0044. Our expert staff will answer any questions you may have regarding any aspects of estate planning. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. You can count on us to help you plan for the future of your loved ones.