Are you single or do not have children? You still need an estate plan
Estate planning is just as necessary for those that are single or without children as it is for those with large families.
You may think that the main purpose of estate planning is to help provide for your children or spouse after your death. However, what if you are not married or do not have children? Nowadays with smaller families the norm, many couples are choosing not to have children. Additionally, more and more Americans are choosing to stay single, particularly those in their golden years. If you are in either group, you may think that there is little reason to engage in estate planning. However, this could not be further from the truth.
One of the primary reasons for those single or without children to have a solid estate plan is to decide what will happen if they become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make healthcare or financial decisions for themselves. By executing a healthcare surrogate, you can appoint a trusted person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in such an event. Likewise, a durable power of attorney can ensure that your finances are taken care of if you are incapacitated.
In addition to the ensuring that things are taken care of in the event of your incapacity, estate planning can prevent your assets from going to persons that you may not approve of. If you die without a will in place, you are considered to have died intestate. Under Florida law, the assets of those that died intestate are distributed according to the intestacy statutes-default rules that govern the distribution of assets in the absence of a will or trust.
If you die single and without children, the intestacy statues will most likely distribute your assets to your parents, siblings or other distant relatives. This distribution will happen regardless of whether you preferred that your property go to close friends or a charity that you believe in. As a result, any non-relative will likely end up with absolutely nothing, if your property is distributed according to the intestacy laws.
With the rise in the number of single adults and child-free couples, charitable contributions are becoming more popular among people in these two groups. As discussed earlier, it is necessary to include the charity in your estate plan in order to guarantee they receive the contribution that you intend.
If you are interested in making a charitable contribution, to ensure that your gift does the most good, it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, it is important to choose a charity that you truly believe in and have a strong relationship with. In addition, it is a smart move to become intimately familiar with the charity by reviewing its financial statements and salaries paid to executives, so you can ascertain how much money actually goes towards fulfilling its mission. Finally, do your due diligence on the charity by determining whether it has been involved in criminal actions or financial improprieties.
Speak to an attorney
Although you may be single or not have children, you still may have important issues that estate planning can resolve. To learn more about your options, speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. An attorney can listen to your wishes regarding your assets and devise the best means of making them a reality.