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Estate planning is not only for married couples

A Massachusetts resident does not have to be married in order to benefit from an estate plan. Being single might not mean that there is a spouse or children to worry about, but that does not mean that estate planning is not a necessity. In some ways, it is even more important for someone who does not have his or her own family to make preparations in case of incapacitation or death.

Married couples have each other to fall back on when something bad happens. Single people do not have another person they are legally bound to who can step into their shoes in a crisis. Therefore, even a basic estate plan is needed to make decisions on behalf of someone in these circumstances.

Without a will, the fate of a single person’s property will be left up to the state of Massachusetts. The individuals who inherit it might not be the ones the decedent would have chosen. A will gives that individual the opportunity to decide who will inherit the property left behind.

In addition, accidents and serious illnesses can happen without warning — even to young people. When someone is unable to make health care and financial decisions even temporarily, another person will need to step in and make those choices on his or her behalf. It might provide peace of mind to know who will be stepping in for the individual.

Engaging in estate planning can ensure that an unmarried Massachusetts resident can dispose of property as he or she sees fit and appoints trusted friends or family members to care for them in times of need. A will, durable and health care powers of attorney and advance directives could be all that is needed to provide for any eventuality. If additional documents are needed, they too, can be included in the estate plan.

Source: Wicked Local Cohasset, “PLANNING MATTERS: Singles still need an estate plan“, Leanna Hamill Hingham, Feb. 19, 2016


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