For married individuals, estate planning is typically pretty straightforward, as most assets are often allocated to a surviving spouse and/or children. However, statistics show that more people are opting for the single life with no children—either permanently or at least until later in life. This creates some important considerations when determining what to do with your savings and assets in the future.
Should You Wait to Create Your Estate Plan?
It can be tempting to wait to create your estate plan until you are married or older. However, it is important to consider the unexpected. Accidents, health conditions, and other unpredictable incidents can end your life suddenly or place you in a vulnerable medical situation. Because of this, every person over the age of 18 should create and execute appropriate estate documents, including a will, powers of attorney, and an advance medical directive such as a living will.
A large part of the importance stems from the risk of being incapable of making financial or medical decisions. However, you should also consider that, when there is no will or trust, the government takes predetermined paths that eat up valuable assets that could have gone to someone else.
Distribution of Assets
When you are single, there are many ways you can allocate assets. You may choose to distribute amounts to cousins, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, nieces, nephews, or other members of your extended family; or you may opt for donating your assets to a charity. Alternatively, you can develop a fund to benefit others, donate the money to research, or allocate the assets to various organizations. The choice is truly yours—just be certain that you have spoken with a qualified estate planning attorney to ensure you have followed all applicable laws and regulations.
Executors, Trustees, and Powers of Attorney
Choosing an executor, trustee, or power of attorney can be extremely difficult when you do not have a spouse or children. First, the assigned person or persons must be someone you trust. They must also be willing to understand and accept your end-of-life decisions. Additionally, you should carefully consider if you are comfortable with having someone who stands to gain something act as your medical or financial proxy. For some, this can be a very touchy subject, considering how money can sometimes cloud a person’s judgment.
Need Help with Your Estate Plan? Talk to a DuPage County Wills and Trusts Attorney
Regardless of your age, marital status, or income level, it is important to seek the assistance of a qualified professional when creating any aspect of an estate plan to ensure you are following Illinois guidelines and regulations. For more information, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning lawyer today. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule a confidential consultation.