I sometimes hear people say that they don’t need an estate plan because they’re young and single. These people fail to realize that estate and retirement planning is just as important for single people as it is for married couples. In many states, if you’re single and die without a will, your assets will go to your relatives. Some people may be fine with that, but others may have strained family relationships and prefer their assets go to a friend, charity, or significant other.
Failure to plan can also cause problems while you’re alive. Some questions to consider: who will handle your financial affairs if you become incapacitated? Who will handle your health care decisions? Typically, parents or other close relatives will be selected to handle these responsibilities, but not always. Depending on your situation, a court may appoint a non-relative guardian or conservator to handle your affairs. Without some form of plan, a judge will be making the decision for you.
If you’re single, you can avoid some of these potential problems by establishing a basic estate plan. A good starting point for most singles is to create a financial power of attorney and healthcare documents. A financial power of attorney allows you to name an individual to make financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Healthcare documents, which include a HIPAA form, power of attorney (medical and mental), and a living will, give you the ability to name individuals authorized to access your health information and make medical decisions on your behalf. These documents are precautionary measures to ensure that the party of your choice carries out your wishes should something happen to you.
If you’re single, with or without children, the estate plan components I’ve outlined are important tools to consider. Give yourself peace of mind knowing that your well-being and financial affairs will be handled by those you trust. If you have any questions about how to start your estate plan, the attorneys at Morris Hall are happy to assist you.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney, Darren L. Richardson.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.