Most people think that estate planning is for the rich and people who are married and with kids. However, even if you are not married, it is still important for you to plan your estate. Otherwise, failure to legally stipulate what happens to your estate should something happen only leaves the state to make the decision for you. If you are living with your partner, but not legally married, you need to plan your estate. It is even more important to plan your estate if you are unmarried but have children.
What Happens to Your Estate When You Die Single and Unmarried?
If you fail to plan your estate, someone will take advantage of the estate or the state will make the decision for you. If you have kids, you need to ensure that they have a legal guardian who ensures they have the financial support they need. Some people use court-appointed guardianship to take advantage of the old and unmarried people. The process is not complicated and doesn’t have to take a lot of time, so get on with it.
Documents That Unmarried People Need for Estate Planning
• Advance Directive – This is a document that gives someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and cannot make decisions. Even after picking a proxy, you will still have the power to make decisions on your healthcare. You can override any decision the proxy makes.
• Power of Attorney – Anyone who holds the power of attorney has the authority to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make the decision. It is more important for single and unmarried people to choose someone to appoint their affairs when they are younger. You can have a general power of attorney to expire when you lose your ability to make decisions or a durable power of attorney that stays in effect when you become incapacitated.
• Will and Trust – A will is a statement that says where your assets go when you die. The beneficiary of the estate is a trust. When you are alive, you will be the trustee of your assets, but you will have a successor trustee for when you can no longer make decisions. You can choose someone to manage the trust or pick someone to be the beneficiary of the trust.
Everyone needs to plan their estate, and that should start today. With an attorney, the process doesn’t have to be complicated.