Creating an estate plan is often considered something we do when we reach retirement or after we get married and have children, but estate planning goes beyond just wills and heirs. Life is unpredictable, and although no one can prevent certain things from happening, you can make a plan that tackles these unexpected obstacles. People of all ages, especially single people and people without children, can benefit from a comprehensive estate plan. This blog will examine some of the misconceptions about estate planning and outline some effective estate planning tools that can benefit anyone.
Unmarried, Child-Free, or Still in School
It’s very common for single people without children and young adults, in general, to assume that a comprehensive estate plan is excessive for their current needs. The reality is that no matter what your assets look like, you can’t predict what your future holds. The two main life events that make an estate plan so important are after a death or incapacitation. Using estate planning tools to fit your specific needs will give you more control and peace of mind for your family.
Estate Planning Tools
You may not need every single estate planning tool at your disposal at all times of your life. There are so many legal tools at your disposal, you can even establish temporary ones like a springing power of attorney for when you need it most. Here are some examples of common estate planning tools that anyone can use:
Power of Attorney: This comes in various categories and responsibilities. The person assigned to carry out duties within your best interests called the attorney-in-fact, can have limited or extensive responsibilities and rights to make decisions on your behalf. For example, if you are incapacitated, you may need one person to care for your business affairs and finances and another to make medical decisions (also called a medical proxy).
Consider the most important people in your life. Who would you trust most with the decisions that impact your life? Your next of kin? Your business partner? Your long-term romantic partner? Without creating these legal documents and working with people you trust, you could leave your company in the lurch or have medical procedures done that you would otherwise not have consented to. They can also give your loved ones peace of mind knowing that they made the choices you wanted them to make.
Wills and Trusts: Depending on your specific circumstances, you could use one or both of these tools. A trust has a lot of flexibility and can do anything from protecting your assets to establishing a fund to care for your loved ones – human or otherwise. Realistically, leaving the fate of your assets up in the air can cause disputes, but worst of all, they are seized by the government to be dispersed as they see fit. Even if you don’t have family members that you feel especially close with, you may want to donate to a charity or a friend. Without the legal framework, your estate will go into probate, which can be expensive and time-consuming for your loved ones.Starting an estate plan from scratch can be overwhelming, but working with a legal team that understands your circumstances, and the people most important in your life, can improve your overall quality of life when you need it most. If you want to protect your assets, ensure your wishes are carried out, or for general peace of mind, contact our firm to schedule a virtual consultation, or call the office at (704) 358-0026.