How To Handle Your Estate As A Single Person

If you are single, one of the last things you might be thinking about is your estate plan. However, something will happen to your assets when you pass away and you will want to have control over the process. If you're not sure what you can do with your estate, an attorney can help.

How Your Assets Are Distributed as a Single Person

If you pass away while single, your surviving parents and siblings will inherit equal portions of your estate. If there are no surviving first-degree relatives, all of your assets will be distributed equally among other family members.

Having Your Wishes Carried Out

If you are concerned that your wishes will not be carried out, you will need to speak with an estate planning lawyer who will inform you of the best options to take. For example, you might wish to have a will written or set up a trust. 

A Durable Power of Attorney

When you are in a marriage, your spouse will likely be making financial decisions when you are unable to do so. However, when you are single, you may wish to use durable power of attorney to grant the ability to make decisions on your behalf to another individual you trust.

Your Healthcare Directive

An estate planning attorney might encourage you to set up medical provisions that articulate your wishes if you are not able to articulate them due to being incapacitated because of a medical condition. This is especially important because it will affect you while you are still alive. You will want to make sure to choose someone you trust and someone who will understand your wishes.

A living will allows you to make decisions about the end-of-life care you will receive when you are not allowed to do so yourself. Otherwise, your friends, family, and medical team will have to decide what's right for you.

Your Beneficiaries

The aspect of your estate that you might be the most familiar with is your beneficiaries. These are the individuals who you may name when planning your estate who will receive a portion of your assets. They might be named as beneficiaries on your life insurance and your retirement policies as well.

You will not necessarily have to give your assets away to a person. Another option is to give your assets away to a charity or some other cause. An attorney can make this decision easier by going over your options.