Estate planning discussions are often focused on married couples, but it’s equally important for single individuals to prepare one too. In fact, in some ways, it’s more important for single adults given that heirs are less obvious and there are generally no jointly owned assets. A proper estate plan may be the only way to carry out specific wishes. Below are some tips on estate planning for single adults.
With No Will or Trust, assets will flow in accordance with Massachusetts intestate succession, which determines heirs based on who survives you (i.e. whether you’re married, have children, and/or have living parents, siblings, nieces or nephews). For single adults, this system can be challenging, especially if your parents are deceased, you are unmarried, or have no children. It can lead to distant, unknown relatives inheriting the estate. Regardless of those categories, you likely have certain feelings about who should benefit from your hard-earned assets should something happen to you. Whether you’d like to leave assets to distant relatives, friends, or charities, estate planning is the best way to carry out those plans.
Other Essential Estate Planning Components
As a single person, it can be difficult choosing the right people to make medical and financial decisions in the event of disability or incapacity, but that only increases the importance of getting the right documents in place. A power of attorney and health care proxy are both must-haves. A power of attorney enables someone to manage your financial affairs should you become incapacitated. For example, if you’re in a coma, a person with power of attorney can make sure your rent, utilities, and other essentials are paid. A healthcare proxy makes it clear who should make medical decisions on your behalf. Both documents are important protections for everyone.
Frequent Updates to Your Estate Plan
Estate planning for single adults can sometimes require more updates. Any changes in your life, such as employment, personal relationships, family relationships, friendships, and charitable interests may result in a need to change your plans. We recommend a review of estate plans every year, or sooner for major life changes.
More Tips on Estate Planning for Single Adults
Estate planning for single adults may include less obvious provisions than for individuals with families. Be sure to consult with an estate planning attorney to understand your options and to create a plan that meets your specific needs. Contact our team of Massachusetts Estate Planning attorneys to get started.