When single, your future is automatically more ambiguous. There are no obvious benefactors or trustees that are typically seen with married couples. Working with an estate planning attorney will streamline the process and quickly dismiss any questions/concerns family members may have upon your death.
Year after year slips by, a life filled with distractions diverting your attention from seemingly less pertinent matters. Estate planning is easy to forget about when your spending hours building an empire, creating new memories, and living life in the moment. As retirement approaches, it becomes imperative to create a solid estate plan.
Implementing the right estate planning strategies with an attorney who specializes in estate planning can make the transition into retirement much more relaxing and stress free. These strategies include examining the structural procedures of creating a will, selecting a power of attorney, and creating an end of life plan.
Single people must also consider things like estate taxes and dying intestate when creating an end of life plan. These elements aren’t typically regarded by single people until it’s too late.
Setting Up Your Will
Draw a road map for how you desire your assets shared and whom you wish to be executor. Without a will, your assets will be distributed according to state law.
A will is a set of legal instructions detailing the distribution of an individual’s assets upon death. Drafting a will with an accredited estate planning attorney is vital to help alleviate any caveats and disparities in policy.
Appointing an executor and beneficiary is an important aspect of setting up your will. An executor revises any remaining financial issues such as debts, taxes, loans, etc and probating your will if required. A beneficiary is a person who assumes financial assets, property, and material possessions upon another’s death. A revocable trust should be drafted in one’s lifetime with an estate planning lawyer to specify each beneficiaries cut of assets so there are no disputes later. An irrevocable trust should also be strongly considered if you have assets sought after by creditors and agencies.
Selecting a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is another key component when estate planning, particularly for single people. In the instance of a married couple, it is typically assumed that each partner acts as power of attorney should one partner become incapacitated. Single people don’t have this luxury. Thus, assigning the power of attorney to a trusted entity permits that individual to make decisions when you are incapacitated.
When single, power of attorney is a position requiring legal documentation, especially when dealing with medical care and financial obligations. A person can delegate different people to act as power of attorney for a multitude of appointments, including: house payments, medical care, pet care, and business obligations.
Creating Your End of Life Plan
An end of life plan acts as a directive to how you want to be handled should you be incapacitated beyond repair. An estate planning attorney can assist in creating a legally upheld document detailed all these procedures. Death is a common theme in the 21st century, but on an individual level, it is often ignored with the “out of sight, out of mind” notion prevalent. People neglect creating an end of life plan due to the melancholy nature of the plan, but it is critical, especially for single people.
End of life plans typically detail directives including:
- End-of-Life Housing
- Memorial Service Guidelines including location, budget, burial style, etc
- Advanced Healthcare Directive
Having a concrete end of life plan makes the transition much easier for the bereaved and is something to strongly consider when approaching retirement as a single individual. Speaking with an estate planning lawyer is ideal when creating an end of life plan for clarity and
Are Outstanding Estate Taxes Dismissed?
Married couples possess assets jointly, unlike singles, and can leave it to the surviving partner without paying estate taxes. However, a single person’s estate can be caught with estate taxes if the amount of the assets surpasses the federal estate tax exclusion. Because this has been growing, states have begun imposing a state-level estate tax. So individuals may wish to consider setting up a trust that can help lessen estate tax.
Many individuals do not mind if their beneficiaries get less while the government gets more. After all, the beneficiaries are getting a windfall anyway so what do a little amount of taxes matter? But there are other estate planning options to consider if you do care. For example, you may wish to look at charitable planning as a way to decrease taxes and turn to those charitable organizations that have performed a vital role in your life. Or you may think to make lifetime gifts to friends and family. Clients of professional attorneys sometimes inquire if they should get married to take benefits of the increased estate tax savings that couples have. If this is the only basis for the marriage, the answer to that is no.
What Happens If I Die Without A Will?
Dying intestate refers to an individual passes away without a valid will. In this situation, the assets will be distributed according to the state laws where he or she resided. Commonly, the estate disburses as follows:
• Parents (if Surviving)
• Brothers and sisters
• Close Relatives
The law doesn’t take the nature of your personal relationships under regard. Any ill will or favorites will be disregarded after your demise.
It is crucial for single people to create a concrete end of life plan detailing every aspect of your life up to death and how things are to be disbursed/handled after. If not for yourself, this process should be done for your benefactors. The first step in the process should always be to consult with an estate planning lawyer.