Most young, single people in the Greensboro, North Carolina area probably don’t give much thought to estate planning. Nevertheless, it’s vital for every adult to have an estate plan whether you are married, in a relationship, or anything else. The reality of estate planning is that only by crafting an individualized plan can you protect some of the most important issues in your life. Here is what single people should know about estate planning, and why creating a plan matters so much.
Making Choices For a Single Person
One of the key elements of estate planning is the ability to make decisions about who you want to serve as your representative should you become incapacitated. Even though young people are far less likely to become incapacitated, it’s a possibility for which everyone needs to be prepared. Sudden and unexpected incapacitation can cause some significant legal headaches for the loved ones and family members of the unprepared.
When a single person becomes incapacitated it typically falls to that person’s closest family members to make decisions on that person’s behalf. For example, if you are college student and become incapacitated, it will likely fall to your parents to make decisions for you.
This is important to many single people because it means that your romantic partner will not have the legal ability to make decisions for you, regardless of how long you’ve been together. Even if you have been with your partner for years, your partner does not have the legal right to become your representative. If you want your partner, or anyone else, to serve as your representative, you will have to make an estate plan.
Single Parents and Estate Planning
If you are a single parent, having an estate plan is absolutely essential. If you have a child under the age of 18 and something should happen to you, who would become responsible for caring for and raising your child? Should you die, who would become that child’s legal guardian? If the other parent is still involved in your child’s life, or is still available to care for the child, how will his or her decision affect your ability to choose a responsible adult to care for the child?
If you don’t have an estate plan you have no way of protecting your choice about who you want to care for your child in the event you are no longer able to do so yourself. If the child’s other parent is deceased, not available, or otherwise unable to care for the child, you will need to craft a plan that chooses a responsible person to step into the parental role in your absence. Failing to do so will mean that you leave it up to a court to decide who should care for your child. Though a court has a duty to make a responsible decision, the person the court chooses may not be the person you would have wanted.
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