While much of the advice and popular material available on estate planning is aimed at married couples or those who have reached retirement age and beyond, that doesn’t mean that unmarried persons of every age don’t need estate plans of their own. In fact, there are some situations in which a single person has a greater need for a good estate plan. If you are single and haven’t begun the estate planning process, here are a couple of tips to help you get started on the path.
Step 1: Develop a good foundation.
The first part of planning efforts should primarily be focused on creating the key foundational documents that should be part of any estate plan. These include creating a will, durable powers of attorney both for financial and healthcare decisions, as well as possibly a living trust. You will also need to review how any asset you own are titled, such as your vehicles or real estate. Also, any property you own that names a beneficiary, such as your retirement plan or IRA, will also need to be reviewed to ensure it fits into your overall estate plan.
Step 2: Take steps to protect your assets.
For those with significant assets a basic estate plan will not be enough. Once you’ve created the foundation you’ll then need to begin addressing estate tax issues, business succession, asset protection, as well as develop a plan for charitable giving. If you don’t have significant assets you may not need to take these additional steps. However, those with a high net worth will be able to benefit greatly from these advanced planning tools.
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