In the recent past, it has become increasingly common for people to decide to remain single, whether as young adults, divorcé(e)s, widows, or widowers. Fortunately, in this day and age, this is a perfectly reasonable, acceptable decision.
At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., we have extensive experience planning the estates of single clients in Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod in ways that best suit their needs and desires for the future. Contact our team of estate planning attorneys to give yourself the advantage of dealing with skilled, caring professionals.
Reasons for Estate Planning Are the Same for Singles as for Married Individuals
Although some singles often think that because they are single or childless, they have no need to work with a sharp estate planner, this is far from true. No matter what your marital status, you will want to:
Provide for Loved Ones
Even if you have no children, you may very well want to leave funds to loved ones (youngsters or adults) you predecease. Our will and trusts attorneys will help you create a will so that you do not die intestate (without a will).
You may wonder why dying intestate is a problem. If you die without a will, the state will follow legal guidelines, leaving your estate to your parents or siblings (first-degree relatives). If you have no first-degree relatives, the state will divide your assets among second-degree blood relatives (e.g. aunt and uncles, nieces and nephews), and subsequently to more distant blood relatives.
So, without a will, you may end up unintentionally leaving all your assets to a distant relative you never met instead of to a close friend or a favorite charity. For the same reason, you will want to
make sure that your life insurance policies, retirement benefits, and bank accounts have the designated beneficiaries you want to be named.
Protect Your Assets as a Single Individual
As you consider your retirement income or gifts to individuals or entities (e.g. charitable organizations, education, or religious institutions) during your lifetime, or as bequests, our attorneys will make sure your assets are protected from creditors and excessive taxation.
To this end, we will help you create various types of revocable and irrevocable trusts to keep your taxes to a minimum, make use of tax-free giving annually, and arrange for best options as you save for retirement. In all cases, we will customize our recommendations on your particular circumstances, knowing that establishing a reliable estate plan is never a one-size-fits-all operation.
Set Up a Workable Plan for Business Succession
If you have spent decades building a business, you may want it to continue as your legacy or you be sold to the highest bidder. The course of action taken should be your personal choice. This means you should discuss viable options with your estate planning attorney so you can make certain your wishes will be carried out.
Prepare for Potential Incapacity as a Single Individual
Serious injury or debilitating illness is a risk for everyone, single or married, so it is as important for single individuals to prepare for incapacity as it is for their married colleagues and friends. Even if you don’t have children for whom you have to provide care after your passing, you may have beloved pets for whom you want to make arrangements.
No one expects calamity, but there is plenty of it to go around. Realistically, it is wiser to plan for incapacity and have that plan never have to be implemented, than to lack a plan and suffer, or have your loved ones suffer, the consequences.
Documents That Are Invaluable When Needed
An accomplished estate planning attorney can assist you in getting all your ducks in a row when it comes to creating and signing the legal documents you may suddenly require urgently if you have a health emergency. Such documents include:
- Health Care Proxy to designate the person you want to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself
- Durable Power of Attorney to allow a trusted person to make financial decisions while you are incapacitated
- Health Care Directive and Living Will to indicate what medical measures you want to be taken (e.g. tracheostomy, feeding tube) if you become incapacitated or during your final illness