Minnesota Estate Planning For Single People

by Flanders Law Firm LLC on March 31, 2017

Minnesota Estate Planning for Single PeopleOne of the big motivators that drives people to get their act together, at least from an estate planning perspective, is the existence of a family. Having a spouse and children to worry about is often the push most people need to step up and start tackling an issue they would normally be content to ignore.

These people worry about their husband or wife being left without sufficient financial resources or their children being left without guardians. Though these are all great reasons to get an estate plan started, what happens if you arent married? What if you dont have kids? Is there a point to estate planning if youre single? Absolutely. To learn more about estate planning for those single and without children, keep reading.

Should You Have a Will?

First, estate planning for singles is something that has become a concern for an increasing segment of the country. Today, about half of all adults in the U.S. are single, up from only 28 percent in the 1960s. The percent of adults who have never married is at 30 percent, more than twice what it was several decades ago. Similar changes are occurring when it comes to children. Fifteen percent of women in the U.S. have not had any children, a number up 50% since the 1970s. All these numbers tell a compelling story, that the concerns motivating many people to get estate plans in order (to protect their family members) may be falling on deaf ears to a growing group.

So why does estate planning matter if youre single? There are no spouses to worry about or children to care for, after all. While that may be true, there are other concerns that need to be addressed. For instance, single people are just as likely as those who are married to own assets in their own names. Single people have houses and cars and retirement funds and bank accounts. Single people also face health issues and run the risk of being incapacitated. They thus need guardians and conservators as much as anyone else. Estate planning exists to help bring structure to the distribution of a persons assets as well as creating a plan for what happens to the person in the event something goes wrong.

Single People Estate Planning

Estate planning may actually even be more important for singles. Though theres reason enough for everyone to create a plan, if youre married and dont have an estate plan in place, your spouse provides a very good automatic backup. The law kicks in and gives all assets to your spouse, making things fairly clear. Even more importantly, health care and financial decision-making authority immediately passes to your spouse. The same isnt true for single people, who will need to have a guardian and conservator appointed by a probate court and may have assets distributed automatically to people they might have preferred to exclude.

So what do singles need to do? For one thing, think through who you want to receive your property. Are there friends that you want to be sure to take care of? Your parents? Siblings? What about charities that are especially meaningful? Without children to take care of, you have a lot of freedom to decide who gets your remaining assets. You also have the freedom to decide who doesnt, another reason why estate planning is valuable. Without a plan in place, your assets would be distributed according to a predetermined process, which could allow some people (like an estranged sibling or a useless nephew) to receive a cut that you didnt intend. By creating your own plan, you can include (or exclude) whoever youd like.

Next Steps

The next thing to think about is who you want to take care of health care and financial matters when you are no longer able to do so. Without a plan, a court will have to name a guardian and conservator to make these important decisions, a process that can take time and cause unnecessary upheaval. To avoid the chaos, simply name your own choices (and backups). It could be a very close friend or parents or siblings or even distant relatives. If theres no friends or family you trust with such delicate matters, you can also reach out to professionals who act are willing to serve in this role for a fee.

Minnesota Estate Planning Lawyers

An experienced Minnesota estate planning lawyer can help walk you through the complicated process of establishing a workable estate plan. For more information on estate planning in Minnesota, along with a variety of other topics, contact Joseph M. Flanders of Flanders Law Firm at (612) 424-0398.

 

Source: Planning for singles with no kids, by Matthew Wallace, published at TheTimesHerald.com.

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