On our blog and in our practice, we talk a lot about estate planning for families. It’s certainly the most commonly known application for our services—parents want to be able to protect what they’ve saved and accrued for their children and provide an easy way for their assets to be passed down to their children when they die. But just because this is the most well-known case for estate planning doesn’t mean it’s the only one.
A person who is single with no children—or, for that matter, a childless person whose spouse has passed away—may, in fact, need estate planning services even more. There can be a lot more uncertainty for someone with no dependents and no obvious heirs, from uncertainty about who should receive their assets to uncertainty about who can make difficult decisions about life-extending care on their behalf.
No matter what, your remaining assets must go somewhere. You have an opportunity while you’re still alive to dictate how this process goes instead of leaving your estate to the government to execute and distribute.
If there are family members, close friends, or other people in your life that you’d like to receive your remaining assets, planning your estate with us at Family Estate Planning Law Group is a way to draw up an effective plan to ensure that this is what happens after you’re gone. Even if you think you don’t have much of an estate, working with our team can help identify assets of yours that you may not have considered passing down.
Though estate planning has a lot to do with what happens after you’ve died, there are crucial elements in a thorough plan that can directly affect you while you’re still alive. End-of-life planning is difficult for anyone, but it presents a good opportunity to consider what medical measures you’re comfortable with should you be unable to dictate your wishes for your own care. A good estate plan takes precautions to outline these wishes ahead of time, such as procedures for falling into a coma, which leads to the next point:
Designate People to Act on Your Behalf
If you’ve thought about end-of-life or life-extending care, you’ve likely considered who could enact your wishes on your behalf. Designating a health care proxy is an essential element to include in your estate plan. If you have someone you know to give this responsibility, putting it into an estate plan gives you legal assurance that your proxy—and, by extension, your care wishes—will be heard.
In a similar manner, the distribution of your assets in accordance with your estate plan requires an executor and Trustees. This person or small team of people will make sure that your estate plan is fulfilled when the time comes to execute it. They will be in charge with overseeing your living trust and handling the details of asset distribution in accordance with the plan you’ve drawn up.
In both of these cases, don’t worry if you don’t have a family member or someone immediately in mind to designate—Family Estate Planning Law Group will help you make an estate plan that evolves with your needs and walk you through the whole process.