Estate Planning for Singles

June 22, 2012

An amazing percentage of Americans do not have a comprehensive estate plan. Unmarried individuals are even more likely than married people to put off creating an estate plan, including a simple Last Will and Testament. Contrary to what many single people think though, an estate plan is every bit as necessary to a single person as it is to a married individual.
If you die without leaving behind a Will, the state intestate laws will determine what happens to your assets. While state laws vary, this likely means that your parents or siblings will be first in line to inherit unless you have children. These may not be the people you want to inherit your estate. Just because you are single doesn’t mean you do not have close relationships and emotional ties to people. Maybe you have nieces or nephews that you are close to or even a friend's children to whom you would prefer to leave your assets. This can only be accomplished by creating an estate plan.
What may be an even bigger issue is what will happen to you and your assets if you become incapacitated. Physicians are required to follow federal laws that forbid divulging a patient’s medical information to someone who is not legally authorized to receive the information. If you have not executed a living will, or similar document, a court battle could ensue to determine who will make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated. In addition, without proper estate planning, the same could happen for the right to control your assets.
Being single is not an excuse to put off creating an estate plan. On the contrary, it is often precisely why you do need a plan.

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