A common misconception about estate planning is that only married couples or people with children need to bother doing it. However, any person with assets or who cares about how their future medical and financial needs will be handled should have an estate plan. To ensure that you don’t leave your health management, financial administration, and personal belongings to strangers, it’s important to create an estate plan that will protect your future.
Granting Power of Attorney for Financial and Medical Matters
An estate plan offers you a way to plan for your future, both medically and financially, if/when you become sick or are unable to care for yourself. By granting someone power of attorney over your medical affairs, your preferences about medical treatment and end-of-life decisions will be honored. This person can be a child, a sibling, or even a close friend. You can also grant someone power of attorney over your financial matters, as well.
There are a variety of situations that might require someone else to control your financial matters, including:
- You get into an accident and are unable to communicate
- You reach an old age and are suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another disease that could impair your decision-making abilities
When you appoint a power of attorney to manage your financial affairs, they can pay your bills and manage your finances the way you want them handled. If you don’t appoint a power of attorney, the court would identify an individual they believe could act in your best interests, and it might not be a person you would ever have chosen yourself.
Without a Will, Your Possessions Go Through Probate
Even as a single person or someone without children, you likely have a variety of possessions that matter to you. Maybe you’re not concerned early on about what to do with your assets, but if you don’t have a will, your assets are subject to California’s intestate succession rules, and a court would decide which of your relatives—if any—are most deserving of your possessions and properties.
It doesn’t matter what sort of relationship you had with your parents, children, siblings, uncles, aunts, or nieces. California will prioritize your immediate family, and if they’re unable to locate any close relatives, they’ll begin allotting your assets to more distant kin. A will can help you allocate simple assets or properties.
Trusts Give You Enhanced Certainty
A will is an important part of any estate plan, but it has limitations. If you have any specific requests, demands, or conditions, you want to consider establishing some type of trust. A living trust, for instance, allows you to transfer assets—such as a house or financial accounts—into a fund while you’re still alive. You could then set conditions on how these assets would be used after you die. You may stipulate that a stock portfolio’s proceeds go to a charity of your choice or that funds be passed to a cherished friend or relative.
Don’t Put Off Estate Planning Because You’re Single
Estate planning isn’t just for married couples or people with children. It’s a necessity for adults of all ages. Without an estate plan, you have no control over your affairs when you’re hurt or incapacitated. The state could appoint a distant relative to oversee your finances if you’re in the hospital or distribute your cherished possessions to relatives with whom you’ve had a rocky relationship or barely know.
Do You Need To Speak With An Attorney About Estate Planning?
If you need to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer please contact us online or call us directly at 800.756.5596 to first register for one of our free, informative seminars. Your attendance will qualify you for a special discount for our estate planning services should you decide to make a free appointment at the conclusion of the seminar and choose to proceed with us. We proudly serve clients throughout California with offices in Torrance, Newport Beach, Orange, Woodland Hills and Pasadena.