An astounding number of Americans do not have an estate plan. Of the people who have not created an estate plan, a large percentage of them are single individuals who are under the impression that there is no real need to create an estate plan. Just because you are single does not mean that estate planning is not necessary. Consider the following reasons why you do need to sit down and create that estate plan you have been putting off.
- Children: If you have a child, you need an estate plan. You may be counting on your state’s intestate laws to leave everything to your child, but that isn’t all there is to an estate plan. In addition, not all states leave everything to a minor child. Who will be the child’ guardian? Is your child a minor? If so, you likely need to create a trust so the assets will be safe until he or she reaches the age of majority. Without planning an ex-spouse who is also the parent of your child will be administering your assets for your minor child.
- Incapacity: What will happen to you if you become incapacitated? Who do you want to make medical decisions for you? Who do you want to have control of your assets? In the absence of an estate plan, a court battle could be waged to decide both of these issues, and the result may not be what you would want.
- Gifts to Friends, Charities, Family Members: Are you close to a niece, nephew or a friend’s child? Without an estate plan, those children will likely receive nothing from your estate when you die. Likewise, a charity that is important to you or a friend that you are close to will also receive nothing.
Take the time to sit down with an estate planning attorney and create an estate plan now.