Does A Person Who Is Single Need a Will?

More people in today's day and age are choosing to remain single. For some this is because they have divorced and do not want to get married again. For others, they have chosen not to get married at all. Still others have had a spouse pass away, and have not remarried.

Regardless, there are distinct estate planning issues that affect singles just as much as married persons.

Here are 3 estate planning issues for singles that should not be overlooked:

  • Beneficiary Designations – Some accounts (e.g. retirement plan accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, etc.) require the account holder to designated a beneficiary in order to ensure that those assets pass to the individuals or entities that the account holder wants the assets to go to when they die. Sometimes, however, these designations are incomplete or not completed correctly. Account holders should review these designations with their financial advisor and estate planning attorney every so often to ensure everything is up to date and on file.
  • Wills – What happens if you die without a Will? The laws of intestacy in Connecticut apply, which means that the Law in Connecticut in effect at the time of your death will determine who gets what. In order to ensure your assets actually go to the people or entities you want them to go to, you should have a Will in place. Your Will is a set of instructions that will go to the Probate Court. Be wary of online document preparation services when it comes to estate planning documents such as Wills. We have seen cases blow up and cost a lot more money in probate when these services are used and a qualified attorney is not retained.
  • Incapacity – What happens if you become incapacitated without proper documentation in place (e.g. advance health care directives, power of attorney, etc.)? First, someone may need to apply to the Probate Court for conservatorship over you and/or your estate. This can be costly and time consuming. Single people should execute properly drafted advance health care directives, powers of attorney, and HIPAA authorizations to help avoid this from occurring. These documents should be reviewed with a qualified estate planning attorney and re-executed every so often to help ensure that they will work when you need them most.

These are just a few issues affecting single people when it comes to estate planning. You should not hesitate to contact a qualified estate planning attorney to help you make sure that you are protected and that your assets will be distributed they way you want and to who you want. To contact an estate planning attorney to assist, click here for our phone number.