Do I have to plan an estate if I’m single?

woman standing on a bridge in the snow

For many, the importance of estate planning may only seem applicable to married couples or those with children. However, more people are embracing the single life and, as such, it’s necessary to understand that estate planning is still vital. Many assume because they do not have a spouse or children, they have no one to leave their estate to. Keep reading to learn why this is far from the truth, and discover how PA estate planning attorneys can help you navigate this process.

If I’m single, why must I create an estate plan?

If you pass away without an estate plan, all your belongings, from property and bank accounts to stock and ownership in companies, will be distributed according to the state. They will follow what’s known as the intestacy line of succession, which means that the assets you’ve accrued may go to someone you don’t want to have them. If you have no heirs, everything will go to the state.

As such, it’s necessary to understand that even though you are not in a relationship or do not have children, planning your estate is the best way to protect your hard-earned assets.

If you’re unmarried or have no children, you may think it’s impossible to find beneficiaries for your estate. However, you likely have people in your life who are important to you, such as siblings, nieces or nephews, cousins, and friends and family. You may also decide to leave a considerable portion of your estate to a charity you hold near to your heart.

What documents should I create?

Many consider the most important estate planning document to be a will. This is the document that allows you to detail what you would like to happen to your property and who you would like to receive what assets. Planning a will is crucial to preventing the state from receiving your assets if you have no heirs.

Another document you should consider establishing is a trust. This holds money for a designated beneficiary, such as a charitable organization. You may also find that you can receive significant tax benefits when you place funds and assets in a trust fund. This is ideal for those who want to donate to charities, as you can establish a charitable trust, or those who want to take care of a pet after they pass with a pet trust.

It’s important to understand that your estate can be altered. If you get married or have children, you can amend your will to include them in the inheritance. However, if you prefer to live the single life, ensuring you take these steps helps protect the state from claiming the assets you’ve worked hard to obtain.

At Friedman Schuman, we understand that estate planning can be complex. As such, we will do everything possible to help make this process as simple as possible. Contact our office today to learn more about how our dedicated firm can help you navigate this process.

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