When Should Singles Create an Estate Plan?

Estate planning for singles
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Singles are not exempt from having to create an estate plan.

Many American adults are currently considered single.

These individuals may have never been married.

Others may have been married then widowed or divorced.

According to a recent County 17 article titled “Even ‘Singles’ Need Estate Plans,” dying without an estate plan is not only a problem for couples.

Estate planning for singles may look different from married couples.
Singles do not need to wait for marriage to get an estate plan.

If you die without an estate plan, whether married or single, it is referred to as dying intestate.

Every state has intestacy laws.

These laws designate who inherits your assets when you die without a last will and testament.

What does this mean for singles?

The people you would like to inherit your collectibles, assets, or family memorabilia may receive nothing.

If you have specific friends or family members in mind to inherit, you should take the steps to create a last will and testament now.

If you have no individuals you would like to inherit, you can choose to leave your assets to a charitable organization.

Without an estate plan, your favorite organization will not receive your support when you die.

Both singles and married couples have options for giving to charities.

One option is a charitable remainder trust.

With this strategy, you can transfer appreciated assets to an irrevocable trust.

Commonly, these assets may include mutual funds, stocks, other securities, and real estate.

The trust can sell assets at full market value and owe no capital gains taxes.

By itemizing, you may be able to claim a charitable deduction on your taxes.

The trust can then purchase income-producing assets from the money made on the sale of the transferred assets.

This income can provide for you during your lifetime and the remainder will be transferred to a charitable organization of your choosing when you die.

Another important aspect of estate planning for singles is incapacity planning.

If something were to happen to you so you could no longer make your financial or medical decisions, someone else would need to make decisions on your behalf.

Although your loved ones could petition the court of this authority, this will prove costly in both time and money.

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney, allows you to choose who will serve as your agents for financial and health care decisions.

Singles and married individuals should take estate planning action now or risk leaving a big mess to loved ones later.

Reference: County 17 (May 24, 2021) “Even ‘Singles’ Need Estate Plans”

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