Do Singles Need Estate Planning?

POSTED ON: August 17, 2021
CATEGORY: Estate Planning
singles estate planning
If you don’t have a spouse or children, you might think you don’t need to do much estate planning. However, if you have any assets, any familial connections, any interest in supporting charitable groups – not to mention a desire to control your own future – you do need to establish an estate plan.

Jerry Taylor of Jerry Taylor Law in Fairhope, Alabama tells us what might happen if you die intestate (without a last will and testament). In that case, if you were single and considering your estate planning, your any assets without a surviving joint owner or designated beneficiary or titled in a revocable living trust may be required to pass through the probate process. As a result, they’ll be distributed by the court, according to the state’s intestate succession laws.

If you are single and don’t have children, you may have nephews or nieces, or even children of cousins or friends, to whom you’d like to leave some of your assets in your estate planning. However, if everything you own goes through probate, there’s no guarantee that these people will get what you wanted them to have. Therefore, if you want to leave something to family members or close friends, state this in your last will and testament.

However, you may also want to provide support to some charities. You can just name these charities in your will. However, there may be options that could provide you with additional benefits. One such possibility is a charitable remainder trust. With this trust, you’d transfer appreciated assets, such as stocks, mutual funds or other securities, into an irrevocable trust. Your named trustee could then sell the assets at full market value, avoiding the capital gains taxes you’d have to pay if you sold them yourself, outside a trust.

Moreover, if you itemize, you may be able to claim a charitable deduction on your taxes. With the proceeds, the trust can purchase income-producing assets and provide you with an income stream for the rest of your life. At your death, the remaining trust assets will go to the charities that you’ve named.

Singles should also have as part of his or her estate planning, a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy. A durable power of attorney allows you to designate an individual to manage your finances, if you become incapacitated. This is really important, if you don’t have a spouse to step in.

If you become incapacitated, your health care proxy – also known as a health care surrogate or medical power of attorney – allows you to name another person to legally make health care decisions for you, if you are unable to do so yourself.

Estate planning can be complex, even for people who are single, so work with an experienced estate planning attorney and contact Jerry Taylor Law.

 

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