Estate Planning Strategies for Singles Without Children (And Why They Are So Important)
As attorneys who regularly counsel clients on creating and maintaining their estate plans here in Florida, we see a lot of couples with children interested in estate planning, while also noticing that a number of single individuals without children haven’t really given the topic much thought.
However, for a number of reasons, it is crucial that everyone puts together an estate plan, if nothing else, just to ensure that they, alone are protected, should something happen to their health, for example. Below, we discuss some of the basic documents that you should have in place as a single individual without children, and why these documents are important:
The Healthcare Proxy & Durable Power of Attorney
First and foremost, the importance of having a healthcare proxy and durable power of attorney: These documents ensure that you have someone who you trust to make medical and financial decisions for you, should you become incapacitated.
Wills & Trusts
A will is also a good idea to put in place. Contrary to what some people might believe, wills and trusts aren’t just for families with significant wealth who have a number of children and other beneficiaries to pass it onto; everyone needs a will so that they pass their assets onto the individual(s) of their choice and name who will be the executor of their estate in this endeavor.
Unmarried individuals without children also frequently establish a revocable trust, especially if they want to provide benefits for a significant other that they are not married to. Others may have nieces, nephews, godchildren, etc. that are still minors but who they want to provide for. In that case, you may want to hold your assets in the trust for them until they are old enough to manage those assets themselves. While you are alive, you are the primary beneficiary, however, you will need to name a successor trustee in the event that you cannot manage the trust yourself.
Also keep in mind that you are not done simply by establishing the trust; you need to work with your attorney to “fund” the trust. This is a process by which all of your assets are retitled in the name of the trust and/or beneficiary designations are as well so that you are not at the mercy of a probate court.
Estate Tax Planning
You may or may not care about any and all of the estate taxes involved when it comes to what your beneficiaries are receiving. However, if you do care, there are ways to strategically pass on your assets and divide them between your beneficiaries and any charitable organizations so as to reduce taxes. Your attorney and any associated financial advisors can work with you in this endeavor.
Contact Our Florida Estate Planning Attorneys to Find Out More
None of us will live forever. It makes sense to put an estate plan in place that you are comfortable with that is both smart and strategic. Contact our Florida estate planning attorneys at Suncoast Civil Law to find out more about how to get started.