It is common for single people without children to give little thought to estate planning. You likely have been occupied with various other things like building your career and saving your money. Like it or not, however, no one lives forever, and it is important for everyone to have a plan. While there is a degree of freedom in not having any dependents to worry about, you should still make sure to perform certain estate planning steps. The following will outline some helpful estate planning strategies to consider if you are single.
Consider Creating a Revocable Trust
Trusts can be a powerful tool for single people. While you are still alive, you should be the primary beneficiary of your trust. You may decide to later pass on benefits to a significant other. Some people decide to pass on assets to nieces, nephews, and other family members. You should also name someone to manage the assets in the trust in case you are no longer able to manage them yourself.
Promptly Fund the Trust
While it may sound obvious, you should make sure to adequately fund the trust. If you later become incapacitated, the person you appoint will be able to use assets in the trusts to support your care. If you do not adequately fund the trust, your surviving loved ones may be required to petition the local probate court. By adequately funding the trust now, you can also increase your chances of avoiding probate later.
Understand the Role of Estate Taxes
Many single people do not mind if their beneficiaries receive less and the government ends up receiving more. If you do care about avoiding taxes to the highest degree possible, however, you should know that there are various estate planning strategies you can utilize to that end. For example, you may view charitable planning as a method to reduce taxes and give back to charities that have played a valuable role in your life. You may also decide to make lifetime gifts to loved ones now to avoid taxes later.
Create a Will
While being single likely means that you have fewer estate planning concerns, you should still make sure to create a will. After all, anyone who benefits from your estate is likely not expecting to do so. This holds even if you have just a few assets that you would like to pass on to loved ones. You should also make sure to appoint someone you trust as the executor of your estate. This individual will be tasked with handling your affairs after you pass away as well as paying any remaining debts and taxes.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney
Last-minute estate planning is not ideal. It also is not the best idea to force your surviving loved ones to decide what to do with your estate. If you need the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney, contact Dworken & Bernstein today to schedule a free case evaluation.