If you’re not married or in a long-term relationship, chances are that you think that estate planning isn’t for you – but you’d be wrong. While a lot of discussions about estate plans, wills, trusts and other legal documentation focus on married couples, it’s equally important for singles to consider these options too, says a leading NJ estate planning attorney. Here’s why:
If you pass away without a Last Will and Testament, known as “dying intestate”, the State of New Jersey will decide where your assets will go and how they are distributed. For married couples, this usually means they go to the surviving spouse or children. If you are single, however, your assets will pass to your closest living relations, for example, siblings or parents. If you don’t have any living relations, then the assets generally go to the state.
This means that unless you have stated in a legal document that certain items or assets are to go to certain people in your life, the state will give it all to your closest relatives – whether you would have wanted them to have it or not. With an estate plan, you can choose who inherits and the extent to which they inherit. In addition to family and friends inheriting your assets, you may also want to donate to causes that are close to your heart – something much more meaningful than simply allowing the state to take control of them.
What estate planning documents are essential for singles?
- Your Last Will and Testament: This is the central document of most estate plans. Here, you can name guardians for your children (if you have any), assign an executor to ensure that your assets are managed properly through probate and choose who inherits what.
- Medical and Financial Power of Attorney: These documents empower a person of your choosing to manage your medical treatment and financial affairs if you become unable to do so yourself. Here, you can also specify the level of treatment you would consent to – for example, choosing whether to have advanced lifesaving measures or not.
- Beneficiary Designations: If you have life insurance, a retirement fund or other funds that require you to name a beneficiary, be sure to include these in your estate plan and keep them up-to-date with what you want to happen with your assets.
Make estate planning your priority with the assistance of a qualified NJ attorney
If you would like to revise your Will or create a new Will, Frank R. Campisano can assist you each step of the way. Whether you want to create a simple Will or are interested in creating more complex estate planning documents such as Trusts and Power of Attorney documents, he can ensure that the right legal documentation is developed in order to meet your specific wishes.