It seems most things in life are more difficult if you are single and having to handle everything on your own. However, when it comes to estate planning, singles may have it easier. Creating an estate plan means making numerous important financial decisions. When you are single, you don’t have to confer with anyone else or make compromises during the decision-making process. Once you have decided who you want to be your beneficiaries, your power of attorney or trustee, there is no further debate or argument. On the other hand, a single individual with no children can have some agonizing decisions to make over individual bequests to friends or family or even charities.
Estate planning is especially important for single adults. As we have written in prior blogs, spouses or children are already heirs under the probate code. But if you are single and have no children, your parents are your first heirs, then siblings and then nieces and nephews. That group of beneficiaries is not as intuitive as spouse or children. Also, because you do not have a spouse that can make certain decisions on your behalf under the law, you need to appoint somebody to make decisions if you become incapacitated. In other words, appointing a healthcare proxy or a power of attorney to have the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf is a crucial part of a single person’s estate plan.
An even more compelling case can be made for a single person to complete their estate planning if they have children. Sometimes couples are complacent about planning, because they believe that the survivor will take care of things (not a good plan mind you). A single person can’t rely on a surviving spouse. There is no one who can be relied upon to handle the kids inheritance or set things up if the single person dies. It’s something they just need to do.
Similarly, retirement planning can be easier or more difficult if you are single. Married couples may be better able to save for their future if they have two incomes to rely on for the contributions. It is also helpful if you have somebody to be accountable to when trying to save money. There is an extra incentive to stick to the plan when your partner is there to hold you accountable. On the other hand, inability to agree on goals and objectives, extra expense if only one spouse is employed, and indecision can make it more difficult for married couples. This is particularly true in couples where one is a spender and the other is a saver because the save is not always able to keep the other on track. But a single person has to make affirmative decisions about retirement planning and designating beneficiaries who will receive assets after death.
Whether you are single or married, estate planning and retirement planning are essential to your future. Let us help you create a strategy that will protect yourself and your family.
The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.