A surprising number of people in the United States do not have an estate plan in place. Many of those people are single individuals who do not have children. The reason many of these people have not created an estate plan is that they are under the impression that a single individual without children really doesn’t need an estate plan. That could not be farther from the truth.
An estate plan is intended to accomplish numerous goals at the same time. Disposing of your assets upon your death is, of course, the primary goal; however, there are many secondary goals that are also part of an estate plan. Some of these goals are even more important for a single person to consider than for a married individual.
Incapacity planning is at the top of the list. What will happen to your assets if you become incapacitated? Who will make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated? The answer will lie with the court system if you do not have an estate plan in place. Sadly, this often results in a court battle between well-meaning, or even not so well-meaning, friends and relatives over who will be given the authority to control your assets or decide what medical treatment you will receive.
Your estate plan is the only chance you have to make these decisions yourself. Take the time now to create a comprehensive estate plan that will not only determine who will receive your assets in the event of your death, but what will happen to them–and you–if you become incapacitated.
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