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Do single people need an estate plan?

A lot of single people in California wrongly assume that they don't need an estate plan. However, this simply is not true. Single people need estate plans just like married people do. The only difference is that the issues single people face are slightly different.

When a single person dies without a will or an estate plan in place, then his or her estate will be dispensed to any heirs at law. Heirs at law are children (if the person had any), then parents, then siblings and so forth. If a sibling is already deceased, then that person's share of the estate will be passed on to his or her children -- i.e., the nieces or nephews. In the case that no heirs can be identified, then the entire estate will be absorbed by the state of California.

By creating an appropriate will or estate plan, singles can ensure that their estates are distributed the way they want after they are gone. They can also ensure that their estates will not simply go as a donation to the state of California. Furthermore, single people will be able to name a suitable person to administer their estates and carry out their wishes as planned.

Just as important as the distribution of one's assets is the naming of powers of attorney in a single person's estate plan. Indeed, there could be some disagreement among family members regarding who should make decisions about one's personal affairs in the event of incapacitation -- especially if the person does not have a spouse. Therefore, it is important for single Californians to set up both a health care power of attorney and a financial power of attorney to avoid any kind of familial disagreements like this.

An experienced estate planning lawyer will be able to help single California residents create a will or estate plan to suit their needs.

Source: postcrescent.com, "Singles need estate planning too," Carissa Giebel, Oct. 31, 2015

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