If You’re Single – You need an Estate Plan
Today, I’d like to talk about how it is really important that if you are a non-married or single adult, especially with children, why you would want to have a complete estate plan. This is the reason why. Should something happen to you and you were involved in an accident and needed to get medical care where consent is needed, or if you were temporarily incapacitated, whether it’s physical or mental, without the proper estate plan, nobody would have the legal authority to make decisions or do business on your behalf.
You see, you’re an adult. Your parents cannot come in and make your decisions anymore. But if you would have a power of attorney, healthcare proxy, a healthcare representative, or had a healthcare representative named in your power of attorney, this representative would be able to make medical decisions, take care of your bills, pay your checks, or cash your checks.
If you had to go on social security for a period of time, your representative would be able to get social security checks and pay your bills, talk to your doctors, and make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable.
If you had to go into a short-term care rehab facility, your representative can help advocate for you, help find a facility for you, and sign the paperwork for you to get in the facility.
If something should happen where you are incapacitated for a longer period of time and all of this stuff needs to be done, nobody has the legal authority to do it. A family member or friend would have to come to my office, and we’re going to have to file a petition for guardianship with the court.
We’re going to have to give other people the ability to come in and say that they want to be your guardian. And then we’re going to have to go to a court and say, judge, we want you to appoint so-and-so guardian. This process costs money, requires energy, and possibly fighting between family members. This is something that you don’t want where you can have $100 document, a power of attorney.
Don’t think that something like this may never happen to you. You can walk down the street and somebody can whack you with a car. You can walk down the street and something could fall off of a tree. These things happen. And when you’re a lawyer, you hear about these things happening all the time.
So, if you’re single, you at least want to have a power of attorney and you want to name a healthcare power of attorney or a healthcare representative, or have a healthcare proxy, whatever you want to call it.
Now, if you own property or if you have a child that you’re responsible for, you really want to consider also having a will because, and in the will, you want to go ahead and set up some type of trust for your minor children.
You can set up a trust while you’re still alive, but that’s getting a lot more involved. If you have life insurance, you’d probably want your estate to be the beneficiary of the life insurance. And then in your will, you would have your life insurance go into trust for your minor kids.
You would appoint the trustee to be able to divvy out and help your minor kids with their health, maintenance, education, or whatever else you want.
Don’t think that because you are single, that you do not need an estate plan. Don’t think that it’s expensive. You need at least the bare basics so you can answer and provide information to folks who might need to step in and help you.