Estate planning is not just for couples. Single people can benefit just as much from planning for the distribution of their assets and property and preparing their healthcare in old age. However, estate planning for the single person does involve a few unique considerations that make it different from estate planning for couples. When you create your estate plan with The Millman Law Group, your lawyer will help you understand intestate laws, wills and trusts, and documents like living wills which can all help you create your best plan.
Understanding Intestate Laws
When a person dies without a will, that is known as “dying intestate.” In that instance, their assets are distributed based on the applicable intestate succession laws in the state, which often depend on the person’s marital status. The state receives the assets if there are no surviving relatives to receive them.
Establishing Wills and Trusts
Wills and trusts are two key legal documents that can help ensure that your wishes are carried out. Estate planning for single people can use these documents in specific ways as they consider the following factors.
- Beneficiaries: You must update your beneficiary designations within your will or trust. The individuals named as beneficiaries on paperwork like life insurance and retirement policies inherit these benefits regardless of what your will says.
- Estate Taxes: A single person’s estate can be hit with estate taxes if the estate’s value exceeds the federal estate tax exclusion. You may be able to set up a trust that can help you defer or reduce estate tax.
- Medical Power of Attorney: This document lets you appoint a designated agent to serve as your healthcare proxy and make your decisions. While a married couple typically designates a spouse, a single person must choose a close friend or family member.
Create Your Living Will
A living will documents your wishes for end-of-life medical treatment in a scenario where you become unable to make your choices. Select someone you trust to make those decisions for you. If you don’t have a living will on file, your friends, family, and medical team must be able to work together to decide what is in your best interest. Without your wishes being written down, a lot of conflict may result when your loved ones attempt to decide for you. Your living will is revocable anytime, so you can update your wishes if you change your mind.
Consider a Living Trust
A living trust is established while you are alive and is used to help avoid probate after your death. The probate process differs between states but is almost always a time-consuming and costly process.
A living trust places your assets in a trust and assigns your trustee to transfer them to your designated beneficiaries after your death. Because your assets never technically changed ownership (as the trust continues to own the assets), the probate is typically avoided.
If you have questions about estate planning for the single person, you can trust an experienced estate planning lawyer to help you make the best decisions for your estate.
Estate Planning Made Easy With Millman Law Group
Millman Law Group, PLLC is rare because it’s one of the only law firms that offer life planning in South Florida. From life care planning to the preparation of detailed estate plans, Millman Law Group has committed to serving Floridian elderly communities in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Ocean Ridge, Hillsboro Beach, and many other areas since 2018. Our dedicated team also specializes in special needs trusts and catering to any age demographic because we know for certain it’s never too early to start preparing you and your family for your future. For the latest news in estate planning and elder care law, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest. You can also contact us at 561-463-6480.