If you are single, having a properly structured estate plan in place is essential to ensuring that your interests are represented after you die. If you do not take the time to prepare estate documents, and have no immediate family, you risk having a state court decide how to best divide your assets. The following information provides an overview of what estate documents you should prepare if you are single.
The primary component of your estate plan will be your will. Your will explicitly states how you want to have your possessions divided and names the individuals that will inherit your assets. In creating a will, you will be able to designate an individual who is responsible for your estate. The executor that you designate will supervise the administration of your estate and ensure that your wishes are properly accounted for. Thus, it is important that you choose someone that you can trust with such responsibility.
Health care directives and a power of attorney are additional estate components that offer protection, should you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. Health care directives appoint an individual who will be responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf. Power of attorney offers a similar direction, in that it names an individual who will be responsible for handling your affairs. However unlike a health care directive, a power of attorney enables the designated individual to make decisions regarding finances and personal matters.
If you have established beneficiaries on insurance plans, trusts or investments, it is important that you keep up to date with the proper documentation. Further, maintaining consistency with your other estate documents in terms of naming beneficiaries will help to reduce confusion when your estate is administered.
There are many factors to assess when creating your estate. Married couples and individuals with children benefit in that their assets and possessions are likely to pass to their dependents, even if they do not have an estate. But individuals who are single must be diligent in properly formulating their estate documents in a way that represents their wishes should they die.
The attorneys at Azrael, Franz, Schwab & Lipowitz, LLC, are well versed in estate planning and administration, and can facilitate the preparation of the documents necessary for protecting your interests. Contact us today if you have questions regarding your estate plan, for more information or to schedule a consultation.