If you were never married and have no children, you may think there is no reason for you to consider creating an estate plan. However, the opposite may be true. In fact, those who are married with children may have built-in protections that you do not have because of your single status.
Instead of dismissing the idea of building an estate plan, you may benefit from learning about the options available that may fit your circumstances and the ways in which you can use your plan for your own benefit as well as for those you care about.
Your unique plan
Just because you have no spouse or children does not mean you do not have people who are important to you. You may have nieces and nephews, a long-term partner, or a beloved friend who has acted as your family for years. While you may have deep emotional connections with these people, by law, they may not inherit from your estate unless you make arrangements for them through a will or trust. Failing to do so means your assets will be at the mercy of the laws of Arizona.
Other ways in which you can use your estate plan include the following:
- Choosing a personal representative to handle your estate after you die
- Preventing extended family members from claiming an inheritance if you do not want them to have it
- Using your assets to establish a charitable trust, foundation or other method of contributing to a cause for which you are passionate
- Creating a living will to outline your wishes for medical care and end-of-life decisions
- Naming a power of attorney and medical proxy to manage your financial and medical decisions if you should become unable to do so
A power of attorney and medical proxy will have the legal authority to take care of your money and to speak in your name to doctors and specialists if you are incapacitated. Married couples have these in each other, but a single person does not have such built-in protection. Without these designations, your well-being may be in limbo while your case goes through the courts for a judge to make critical decisions about your care or finances.
Your estate plan will not be like everyone else’s, and you want to be sure to find an attorney who will listen to your goals and help you find the most appropriate ways to achieve them.