Many people think an estate plan is only for elderly people with major assets and children to pass it on to. However, having an estate plan in order is essential for everyone, regardless of age and wealth. After all, life can change on a dime and you don't want to leave your loved ones in the dark about your wishes. This holds true regardless of marital status as well; single people should be making an estate plan as well.
The amount of single people in the United States is higher today than in the last 50 years. In fact, according to the U.S. Census, there are 18 million people ages 65 or older that have never been married, are divorced or are widowed. For these single seniors, there is a host of reasons to get an estate plan in order:
- If you don't have a trust or a valid will, the state will decide where all of your property will go when you pass away. For married people, this typically means that their assets will go to their spouse or children. For singles, it can be more complicated.
- If you don't elect a person to handle your medical and financial affairs, you could wind up with a stranger making major decisions about your health care.
- Things get really complicated when it comes to taxes. Whoever gets your property may need to pay estate taxes, but how much they pay can vary greatly based on how your assets are dispersed.
As you can see, these issues can become incredibly complex and trying to handle it all yourself can be a daunting task. If you want to ensure that your wishes are carried out to the letter, you may want to consider talking to an attorney.