Whether by design or default, there’s a chance you are not married. Meanwhile, you should know that you’re not exactly alone (pun intended.) According to 2016 statistics, 45.2% of all United States citizens over the age of 18 were unmarried. No doubt many of them do not have an estate plan in place.
You may wonder why it’s even more critical for you to have an estate plan than your married counterparts. While husbands and wives do not necessarily pass everything to one another, the laws of inheritance put them high on the list. Of course, things get complicated when there are children – especially from prior relationships.
Meanwhile, an estate plan is not just about who is in charge of your assets and debts if you die. You should also care who takes over in the event that you can’t make decisions on your own – while you still are alive. It’s not just about money. Who do you want to ensure your medical directives are carried out if you can’t speak up for yourself?
When it comes down to it, there is one person you really need to think about as far as the inevitable. And, yes – that individual is you!
An Estate Plan Gives Directions
There’s a chance that you already have a favorite niece or nephew and just figure that everyone in your family knows it. Maybe you don’t feel the need to write anything down – as you won’t have anything to worry about once you’re gone.
Here’s something that might make you shudder. While it’s quite noble that you want to take care of one of your brother or sister’s children, it might not exactly work that way – unless you specify it in a will. If you predecease your deadbeat father, he could readily inherit everything you worked so hard to earn.
The example might seem a bit unkind, but it’s an unfortunate reality. Just because you’re estranged from your dad, doesn’t mean the court won’t follow the rules on distributing the proceeds of your estate.
All things considered, you might not even care about leaving money to relatives or friends. It could be that you have a special charity that you’d like to support. An experienced estate attorney can help you set up your estate plan to do so.
Once again, there is the issue of appointing someone to be in charge when you are deemed incapacitated. Selecting an individual for your power of attorney is absolutely important.
Fellerman & Ciarimboli offers valuable estate planning legal advice. Contact our firm to schedule an appointment.