If you are single, then you are in good company. According to the most recent U.S. Census, more than half of all adult Americans are single, too. Whether you just turned 18 or are 118 one thing you share with your married counterparts is the need for essential estate planning.
One of the most important issues is planning for incapacity, and is often even more important for individuals than married couples. Did you know the law requires every adult American to make his or her own personal, financial and health care decisions? Who would make your basic decisions if you are legally incapacitated due to a serious injury or illness?
Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker of your own selection in advance through proper estate planning, then a probate judge will select one for you. The probate court process to accomplish this, called conservatorship, is expensive, discloses your private personal and financial information to the public record and is a real hassle for your loved ones.
You may also have wishes as to who you want to inherit your estate when you are gone, and what you want them to do with it. Maybe you want to benefit your siblings, or your nieces and nephews, but are worried that they won’t know how to manage the money, or you want them to use it for a specific purpose, like college. Maybe you want to donate to charity, but are concerned with making sure it actually goes to the charity you want it to, and not be used for lawyer’s fees and court costs, or, you want the charity to use it for a specific purpose, like research or scholarships, and do not want your donation to be used for the CEO’s salary.
If you have children, then you may be concerned about who would take care of them when you are gone. Maybe you do not want their other biological parent to have access to the money that you will leave to them, and are worried they will use it for themselves and not your kids.
If you have pets, you may be worried about who will take care of them if you cannot, and where they will live after you pass away. The last thing you want is for them to end up at the shelter.
Did you know that in the absence of proper estate planning, your assets will be distributed after death based on “one-size-fits-all” state laws written for people who do not have their own estate plan? Of course, this impersonal estate plan written by state lawmakers likely will not reflect your own unique circumstances and objectives for your loved ones and assets.
Fortunately, we can help you avoid conservatorship and probate and replace that impersonal, state-written, one-size-fits-all estate plan with one we design together for your unique circumstances and objectives. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your personal estate plan and have your questions answered.