While most people don’t give much thought to estate planning, particularly if they are single and have no children, that is a big mistake. Whether you haven’t done so because you don’t want to consider your passing or just haven’t gotten around to it, it is important that you take the time to handle this legal responsibility.
The courts will give priority to spouses and kids when a person does not have a will or documentation regarding who should make medical decisions when they can’t. However, if you don’t have these relatives or paperwork stating who should be in charge, it becomes up to the court to decide. Choosing a local person you can trust to make medical choices if you are incapacitated is one of the important points your estate planning should cover.
Just as you need to address your medical concerns, so do your finances. While there is a systematic way the court determines who should inherit your money, it consumes time and money. The arguments can go on for years, and it won’t always go upon your wishes.
With the number of singles over the age of 25 steadily on the rise for the past fifty years, this is a concern that will continue to grow. As more folks opt for non-traditional lifestyles, the single and childless households are likely to continue increasing in the future.
If you have assets, working on an estate plan will help to ensure that the money goes where you want. For those with nieces and nephews, a college fund or other financial bonus can be a great way to keep some or all of the money in the family. Perhaps you have a sibling who could benefit from the cash should you pass away. One wealthy woman even left her dog a fortune to ensure the pooch was well cared for once she couldn’t do it herself!
Singles who don’t have any family or don’t like the family they do have can make other arrangements for their estates. One popular choice is the college or university the departed attended. Even if you don’t have the type of cash to back a new building on campus, your contribution will be acknowledged and appreciated by the school.
There are also plenty of charities that would be happy to receive extra funds for their projects. Animal shelters across the country struggle with keeping up with the unwanted dogs and cats in the nation while school programs for the arts are underfunded in many cities. Women’s shelters and donations for first responders are other ways you might decide to direct your fortune once you are gone.
It is important that you discuss your estate plans with an attorney and review your documents at least every five years or after a major life change, such as marriage. Doing so will help you rest soundly at night knowing that your wishes will be carried out for your medical care and your money.
Schedule Your Consultation with Our Experienced Napa Valley Estate Planning Attorney
Celaya Law is an estate planning law firm in Napa, California. Attorney Anthony Celaya helps families in Napa, Sonoma, St. Helena, Calistoga, and the surrounding areas with setting up wills and living trusts, special needs planning, asset protection, probate administration, business law, and retirement planning.
Schedule a planning session with our experienced Napa attorney today to learn how we can help you and your family: (707) 492-3112.