Written by Robert Nickerson
Are you about to face retirement, but are single without any children? If that's you, then chances are you haven't thought a lot about estate planning and what that entitles. Perhaps you spent most of your time putting all your focus on your career and saving your money. Maybe you spent a lot of time on exotic vacations and education instead. No one lives forever and as you get closer to retirement, thinking about an estate plan will become more crucial. Here are some things you ought to consider doing as your first steps.
Execute a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy
These are important for when your still alive and will give you the ability to appoint someone to make medical and legal decisions if your incapacitated. As you are single, you'll need to find someone you can trust with those hard problems. Once you die, then the both Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy are no longer binding, so this is where a will and trust is preferred.
Make a Will
Who do you want in charge of your estate and your assets? This is the person you trust that'll be able to maintain your responsibilities, pay required income and taxes, and even probate the will if needed. Whoever you want to benefit from you will, should be set up through a revocable trust.
Create a Revocable Trust
When you are alive, you should be the primary beneficiary. But this becomes different when your dead and need to figure out whom you want to receive your assets. This is called naming beneficiaries. Do you want to provide a loved one with a place to stay? Or do you have a collection that you feel someone is deserving of? If there is something else, like a cash fund you want to give to someone that's young, but too young to receive them at the moment. That's when you set it up so that they don't receive the benefit until their old enough to manage the money. Who will control that? That's called the trustee and can be set up for anyone. Perhaps it's you? Or you want to name a successor for that trustee to manage that fund? As a single person, this will be a curtail thing to consider when dealing with beneficiaries.
Fund the Trust Now
This is also important; If you start putting something away into the fund now, the trustee will be able to manage it with ease once you gone. If you don’t, then someone close too you will have to petition it in probate court in order to be approved. This will become an expensive and time-consuming problem to deal with later on. Funding the trust will give you the ability to control that and pick who will manage that.
Consider Estate Taxes
This is one area that doesn't get looked at as single people usually don't care if their beneficiaries receive less while the government gets more. There are some options available to increase the amount beneficiaries receive. Charitable donations don't have to surrender as much. Lifetime gifts are also a good option.
Single people have no reason to wait to the last minute, even though a lot of people do. Death bed planning is a major burden and a waste of your lingering time. Call our office to plan something out and avoid a headache.
Jeffrey C. Nickerson - Estate Planning Attorney - My Passion is Special Needs Planning!