A common misperception about estate planning is the belief that it does not become necessary until you marry and/or become a parent. This simply is not true. To make sure you understand when and why you need to start estate planning, an Essex Junction estate planning attorney at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC explains why you need an estate plan even if you are single without children.
Estate Planning Is about More than Just Planning for Your Death
The mistaken belief that estate planning is all about death often causes singles to believe they do not need an estate plan. While it is true that estate planning helps to ensure that your estate assets are distributed according to your wishes after you are gone, a well-thought-out and properly drafted plan can accomplish much more. Planning for the very real possibility of incapacity, for example, is another common estate planning objective as are probate and tax avoidance. A comprehensive estate plan can also help you to protect and grow the assets you acquire over the course of your lifetime and make those assets work for you during your retirement years. Given the wide-ranging goals that an estate plan can help with, it becomes easier to understand why every adult needs one.
Reasons to Plan If You Are Single
There are several reasons why estate planning is important even if you are single, including:
- You want to avoid leaving behind an intestate estate. Whether you have already amassed a sizeable fortune, or you have a modest estate, you likely care what happens to the assets you do own if something happens to you. If you die without at least a basic Will in place, the State of Texas gets to decide who receives your assets. Close friends, favorite nieces and nephews, and beloved charities will receive nothing from your estate.
- You need to be protected in case you suffer a period of incapacity. If you are incapacitated because of a tragic accident or debilitating illness, someone must take over control of your assets. Without an estate plan in place that addresses the issue of incapacity, your family members could end up in court battling over the right to be that person. That litigation could cause a divide in the family for many years to come. Moreover, the person who does end up with control of your assets might not be the person you want controlling them.
- You need to choose a guardian for your children. If you are a single parent, one of the most powerful reasons to execute a Will is because it offers you the only official opportunity to nominate a Guardian for your children should one ever be needed.
- You want to decide who will make health care decisions for you. If you become incapacitated, and you did not execute the appropriate advance directive as part of your overall estate plan, a court may end up deciding who will be responsible for making life and death decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself.
Contact an Essex Junction Estate Planning Attorney
For more information, please attend one of our upcoming FREE webinars. If you have questions or concerns about estate planning, contact an experienced Essex Junction estate planning attorney at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC by calling 802-879-7133 to schedule your appointment today.