Data gathered over the last few years indicates that more people in the United States are single, and undoubtedly, many of those people are here in Massachusetts. Unmarried individuals may unknowingly face certain challenges when it comes to estate planning that married people do not. Potentially, wills and powers of attorney can be more critical for single people.
Married Massachusetts residents often rely on their spouse to make financial and health care decisions for them if they are unable to do so. This is obviously not an option for a single person. Executing a durable power of attorney for financial decisions and a health care power of attorney are needed to allow a trusted friend or family member to step in under these circumstances. Otherwise, court intervention will be necessary.
Without a will, state law will determine who will inherit a single person’s property. In many cases, this may run contrary to what was actually intended. In order to maintain control over these decisions, estate planning is needed.
Some unmarried individuals might believe that they do not need an estate plan since they have no one to “take care of.” Wills, trusts and powers of attorney are not only to take care of spouses and children, but they are also designed to take care of an individual and to carry out that person’s wishes in the event of death. Without a plan in place, family members will be left with the unenviable task of attempting to determine what their loved one would have wanted.
Source: mainstreet.com, “5 Items Singles Need to Handle Their Worst-Case Estate Planning”, Brian O’Connell, April 22, 2015