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Estate Planning for Singles

lady looking at estate planning contract

Probably one of the most common mistakes of singles is not to have an estate plan.  First of all, there is no qualifying age to create an estate plan. You may have to be 18 to vote and 21 to purchase alcohol, but if you want to make an estate plan when you’re 15, there’s nothing stopping you.

Secondly, you don’t have to be married to create an estate plan. If you’re single and want assurance your assets and belongings will be in safe hands upon your death, you don’t have to find a spouse before doing so. As you accumulate your assets – car, home, savings – it is time to think about who might be best to inherit your assets.

Finally, it’s important to understand estate planning isn’t all about making a plan about where your assets and belongings will go when you die. Should you suffer an accident that renders you incapable of making your own life decisions, estate planning should include documents that make it clear what your final wishes may be as well as what medical decisions and financial decisions should be made if you are unable to do so temporarily while you are injured.

Intestacy

Intestacy occurs when a person passes without having created a will or some other form of legally binding declaration regarding their assets and property. If you are a single person residing in Florida when you pass without a will, the state would apply the laws of intestate succession to decide for you who will inherit your assets. Generally, since there is no spouse, it will go to your descendants (children or grandchildren), then parents, then siblings (and children of deceased siblings).  Any debt? When someone dies, their estate is responsible for paying off their debts. That means that debt collectors can go after bank accounts and other forms of savings and assets that the deceased individual owned to get the money they’re owed.

And in the event you have no surviving family members, the state of Florida would claim your assets. However, this very rarely happens because the laws are designed to get your property to anyone who was even remotely related to you – distant cousins etc.

In any case, if you want to ensure your assets and belongings will end up with your chosen beneficiaries, it’s critical to create an estate plan as soon as possible.

How Single People Should Estate Plan

To start, meet with an experienced estate planning attorney like Jim Nici.  Discuss how you want your assets and belongings distributed. A good attorney will help you spell out exactly who gets what, which assets go where, and use proper language so your wishes in your will won’t be misinterpreted. You have to take care when naming beneficiaries. While a married person may comfortably leave their fortune to their spouse, you should think twice about leaving your estate the person you are currently dating.  Also you may have a favorite charity that you want to receive your estate. You may want the assets in a trust to be used later for a beloved niece or nephew’s future college expenses. There are several options and again a good attorney can help guide your decisions.

As mentioned, an important part of your estate plan should include a Living Will, Advanced Directives, and Power of Attorney documents. These are all tools to address what should be done should you be incapacitated and unable to make decisions. For example a Living Will and advanced medical directive will tell health care providers and caregivers what medical interventions should be done. With a Power of Attorney, you can grant temporary power to a trusted relative or friend to take care of paying your bills while you can not. Sadly unexpected end-of-life situations can happen at any age, so it’s important for all adults to prepare these documents.

Your attorney will help your overall estate plan to coordinate with your life insurance and investment accounts. For example, if you had named your parents as the primary beneficiary of your life insurance policy back in the day but plan on leaving your entire estate to a sibling, you’ll want to coordinate your investment and life insurance policies to name the sibling as the new beneficiary.

Finally, a good attorney will be sure to speak to you about how Florida state law may affect your estate plans.

Call Us Today

Nobody looks forward to estate planning, but the process will be smoother with a team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals ready to help guide you from beginning to end. So its time to contact the team at Nici Law Firm and let us be that guide.

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