Estate Planning for Single People

August 18, 2015
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We agree with Forbes that it is important to discuss estate planning for single people. A recent article on their website highlighted the various considerations that a single person should take in regard to estate planning. If a plan is not put in place, distribution of the possessions of a single person is determined based on state laws. Usually this means that possessions are passed to their closest relative, but if there are no relatives alive the assets may go to the state. An estate plan is crucial to ensure that your wishes are met and the distribution of your assets is not decided by a state’s laws.

Forbes lists specific documents and actions that should be considered:

Creation of a Will: A Will allows you to spell out your wishes for distribution of assets, name a guardian for minor children and assign an executor to guide your estate through probate. Forbes notes that you should pick someone who is trustworthy and not easily swayed. You can appoint a relative, close friend, or an attorney.
Creation of a Durable Power of Attorney: In this document you will appoint an individual to manage your finances if you become unable to do so for yourself. Forbes advises picking a trusted relative or friend who has financial knowledge.
Health Care Directive or Living Will: This document is used to explain your wishes regarding end of life medical treatment.
Health Care Proxy or Medical Power of Attorney: The person you appoint in this document is authorized to discuss and make decisions about your treatment. Forbes suggests choosing someone you trust will respect your wishes.
Update beneficiary designations: Forbes advises that you should make certain that the beneficiaries of your benefits, like life insurance policies or retirement plan assets, are up to date and correspond with your estate planning documents.
Estate Tax: With the federal estate tax rising each year, estate planning has shifted to the state estate tax. Forbes notes that you should check with your attorney regarding potential estate taxes on your estate.
There are various tools that can be used to transfer assets and plan your estate as needed. Forbes urges that consulting an estate planning attorney and a financial advisor is imperative to create a comprehensive plan and ensure your wishes are being met.
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At Tully Law, P.C., we are dedicated to helping you find solutions to your estate planning and long-term care concerns. Please call (631) 424-2800 for a consultation.

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