Are you single and think that having an estate plan is unnecessary? Or maybe you just never thought about planning your estate at all? Even if you are unmarried with a significant other, there are still advantages to having a solid estate plan in place. As you get closer to retirement, it is a good idea to figure out who will handle your assets upon your incapacity or death.
Here are some steps to take to start your estate planning process:
Get a power of attorney. While you are alive, the power of attorney gives someone the authority to handle financial matters for you. This is especially important upon illness or incapacity. You can name someone you trust to make these decisions for you. It may sound appealing to add a joint owner on your account, but this is oftentimes smarter if the other person is a spouse. Naming a non-spouse joint owner on your financial accounts leaves them subject to the other person’s lawsuits, bankruptcy or divorce.
Appoint a healthcare agent. Your healthcare agent will have the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Don’t leave your family standing in the hallway of the hospital wondering what you would want, or who should make those difficult decisions. You don’t want your family sitting in probate court, waiting for the judge to give them the authority to act on your behalf. Your healthcare agent will also carry out your end of life decisions, which you should put in writing in a living will…
Make a will. Who will be the executor of your estate? When you die, you need someone to take care of your financial and legal affairs, such as paying your bills, filing income tax and selling your home. Leave a road map for how you want your assets distributed and who you want to be in charge. If you don’t have a will, your assets will be divided according to the law of the state.
Or create a revocable trust. Do you have a relative, friend, or significant other who you would prefer to receive your assets or manage your affairs upon incapacity? A revocable trust will keep your affairs out of probate court, while allowing you to distribute your assets as you see fit upon your death. Do you have nieces or nephews who you want leave assets to? If they are young, you can name a trustee who will look after the assets until they are old enough to receive the inheritance.
Find a reputable estate planning attorney who will help set up your estate plan. Your attorney can make recommendations about what types of trusts or will to execute, and help you avoid potential problems in the future.
Single or married, with or without children…estate planning is important for anyone. It protects the assets you’ve worked so hard to accrue, while also protecting your friends, family and loved ones from dealing with unnecessary stress after your death.
The Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia is a highly experienced estate planning and elder law firm with a long list of happy clients. We care about protecting your assets and securing your legacy and want the estate planning process to be as seamless as possible.
Register for a FREE Estate Planning Workshop
Register for our upcoming workshop and get answers to frequently asked questions about estate planning and more, and to learn the three easy steps to protect the “stuff” you’ve worked so hard to accrue.
April 9 | 10:30 am-12:30 pm | Lawrenceville Office
April 23 | 6-8:00 pm | Hilton Garden Inn, Johns Creek
April 30 | 6-8:00 pm | Lawrenceville Office
May 7 | 10:30 am-12:30 pm | Johns Creek Office