Critter Corner: I Am Single With No Children. Why Should I Bother Planning?

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Dear Commander Bun Bun,

I am a free-spirited single person who has never been married or had any children. I don’t even have brothers or sisters. Yesterday, my neighbor told me about her estate planning during our morning walk. She suggested I call Evan’s office and make an appointment. I disagree. Dying is the last thing I want to think about, and when I do, I don’t have many assets or anyone to leave them to. In your opinion, does someone like me need to think about estate planning?

Thanks,

Salah Toode

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Dear Salah,

A. Even if you are single and/or have no children, asyour neighbor mentioned, estate planning should still be in your plans. Why? Because Estate Planning (including Incapacity Planning) is really about YOU.

In fact, there are times when it’s almost more important for single people to do estate planning. After all, when a married person suffers a major illness, it’s usually pretty clear who will take on medical and financial responsibility. For unmarried individuals, the water could be a bit murkier.

What would happen if you were to suddenly become incapacitated? Who would make your medical decisions for you? If you haven’t worked with an experienced estate planning attorney, the answer to this question becomes quite complicated. If your parents are still alive, maybe they would be called in to determine how your medical care should proceed. Maybe it would be your next closest family member. Most likely, it would not be your best friend or whomever you would choose. Even if your parent or best friend would be your first choice, that doesn’t mean that the courts would agree without having your express wishes legally documented.

And what about your finances? If you are unable to take care of your finances for a period of time, who do you think will do so? The answer to that is: whomever the courts say. Again, it could be a parent, some other relative, or even a court-appointed individual.

Finally, what will become of your things if you should unexpectedly pass away? Who would have legal rights to your belongings, to your home, to your pets? You may think you know the answers, but without clearly outlining your wishes with an estate planning attorney, you have very little control over the matter.

For a single adult without children, it’s certainly a good idea to look out for yourself. Incapacity Planning  Documents that all adults should have in place include an Advance Medical Directive, a Financial Power of Attorney, and a Personal Care Plan (also called. Lifestyle Cate Plan). Estate Planning Documents that most people should have include a Revocable Living Trust & Pour-Over Will. These are crucial in ensuring that your wishes are met and that you have control over your future. An experienced estate planning attorney, such as Mr. Farr, can easily get you on the path to having these affairs in order.

Here are other strategies for people living alone:

  • Make friends who are supportive.
  • Choose a walkable neighborhood.
  • Eat fresh, healthy foods.
  • Stay fit.
  • Keep your brain sharp by getting involved.
  •  Volunteer and help those in need.
  • Take up hobbies that fulfill your curiosity.

Hop this is helpful!

Commander Bun Bun

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