Single people should not overlook estate planning
Recent world events have prompted more and more people to do the responsible thing and make plans for their estates. Parents who realize that if they die without a will, their children may struggle with an uncertain future, and they are taking the time to make those important decisions. Couples are also finding legal ways to protect each other and the assets they have worked so hard for.
However, just because you never got married or had children does not mean your estate deserves any less consideration. In fact, it may be even more important for you to plan your estate because your wishes may not be as obvious as those of someone who has a spouse and children.
Who will inherit your estate?
You may be like most single people who have wide-reaching relationships, and special people in your life may come to mind when you think about what will happen to your estate. For many, those people include:
- Your parents
- Nieces and nephews
- Brothers and sisters
- Your lifelong companion
- Other relatives with whom you are close
You may also have relationships with certain institutions. Leaving part of your estate to causes such as your alma mater, your church, a special medical charity or an animal shelter may be important to you. However, unless you specify these beneficiaries, the Florida probate court will administer your estate according to its rather rigid rules. Following your genealogy, the court may award your estate to relatives you barely know or never cared for.
Strangers should not make delicate decisions for you
Another thing to consider is that, unlike a married person, you may not have someone whom the law will permit to make urgent choices for you. For example, as you get older or should you become ill, you may no longer be able to make sound legal, financial or medical decisions. Your estate plan can designate a trustworthy person to speak on your behalf. Without that designation, people who do not clearly understand your personal wishes may be left to make those choices.
You are never too young to plan your estate. Making those decisions now will ensure your wishes are respected if your health or situation should take a sudden turn. Once your plan is in place, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you have protected your assets and provided for your loved ones.