If you are single, then you are in good company. According to the most recent U.S. Census, more than half of all adult Americans are single, too. Whether you just turned 18 or are 118, one thing you share with your married counterparts is the need for essential estate planning. [For some background reading on fundamental estate planning for newly-minted adults, read our blog post Responsibilities, as Well as Rights Come With Turning 18.
Even if you do not have two dimes to rub together, you are your estate. Did you know the law requires every adult American to make his or her own personal, financial and health care decisions? Who would make your basic decisions if you are legally incapacitated due to a serious injury or illness?
Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker of your own selection in advance through proper estate planning, then a probate judge will select one for you. The probate court process to accomplish this is expensive (it employs at least three attorneys), discloses your private personal and financial information to the public record and is a real hassle for your loved ones.
While the formal name for this probate process is a guardianship and conservatorship, we affectionately refer to it as the lawyer full-employment program.
Did you know that in the absence of proper estate planning for singles, your assets may be distributed after death based on “one-size-fits-all” state laws written for people who do not have their own estate plan? Of course, this impersonal estate plan written by state lawmakers may not reflect your own unique circumstances and objectives for your loved ones and assets.
Fortunately, we can help you avoid the lawyer full-employment program and replace that impersonal, state-written, one-size-fits-all estate plan with one we design together for your unique circumstances and objectives. We even help you coordinate the beneficiary designations on your life insurance and retirement plans with your estate plan to avoid unpleasant, unintended consequences.