Does A Single Person Need Estate Planning?
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau states that in 2018, there were approximately 110.6 million unmarried people in the country, with 63 percent of them never having been married. Given the lack of family, it can be understandable as a single person to assume that estate planning is unnecessary; after all, many single people have few beneficiaries. However, it is still a good idea to have an estate plan, because you need to have a plan for events that may occur during your lifetime. Having an experienced attorney to help you can make all the difference.
Keep The Court Away
One of the most important things to keep in mind if you do have potential beneficiaries in your life is that without an estate plan, your assets will be divided according to Florida’s intestacy statute. If someone dies intestate, it means that the state will govern how their assets are distributed. You will have no control over any distribution of your property – if you have distant relatives you dislike, for example, they may acquire all your property if you have no other relatives remaining. Even a simple will may help ensure that the people you wish to inherit, will inherit.
In addition to your assets, your autonomy may be at stake if you fail to create an estate plan, in some situations. Having a healthcare surrogate designated in your will ensures that you will not require a court-appointed guardian should you become incapacitated – should you require a guardian, you can choose who to appoint. Florida has an unsavory history where some court-appointed guardians have taken advantage of their wards, and even though this behavior is rare, it is another reason to ensure that you name your own guardian, should their help ever be necessary.
If you do not have any family, you still may have people or other entities that you want to benefit from your passing. Some of the most common include charities and pets. Many single people have pets they love and care for, and in order to ensure they are taken care of after their human’s passing, Florida allows you to establish what is called a pet trust. Pet trusts are set up for a period of time, and they are designed to provide enough income for your pet to live comfortably until their passing. It is also important, if you establish a pet trust, that you specify what should be done with any remainder after your pet is deceased.
Charitable trusts are also common among single people. They can be somewhat complex, especially if you decide to establish what is called a charitable lead trust, where the charity receives proceeds during your lifetime, and your beneficiaries receive the remainder upon your passing. Either way, it is important to affirmatively set up provisions for your chosen charity to benefit, or the intestacy statute will apply and the law will govern how your assets are distributed.
Call A Naples Estate Planning Attorney
No one wants to think about their own mortality, but at the same time, it can be rewarding to think of your assets benefiting people or entities that you care about. If you need to talk about estate planning, an experienced Naples estate planning attorney at Nici Law Firm is happy to sit down with you and try to answer any questions. Contact the office today at 239-449-6150 to set up a free consultation.