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Estate Planning for Single People

If you’re single, you might think that estate planning is only for married couples or people with children. But the truth is that estate planning is just as important for you as a single person.

You might think that if you don’t do a will that your family or friends can just divide up your assets the way they want to. But that’s not true. Without an estate plan, your assets will go through probate court and be distributed according to the Massachusetts intestacy law. Your hard-earned assets and prized possessions might not be given to the people you want. Probate costs money and several court appearances may be needed. Even if you feel like you don’t have a lot in assets, you likely have more than you think and you want to control how they get distributed.

Estate planning also helps plan for your future medical health. If you become sick and can’t communicate, who will make medical decisions for you? Who will make end-of-life decisions for you? Will you be cared for the way you want?

What estate planning documents do single people need?

As an estate planning attorney in Massachusetts, I’ll help you create the documents you need, so you can put your own choices in writing.

Will or revocable trust: A will outlines who will receive your property after you pass way and who will manage your estate (“the executor”). You can choose a loved one, attorney, or other professional for this position. You may choose to do a trust instead since it avoids probate and would name someone to manage the trust’s assets if you become incapacitated.

Durable Power of Attorney: This allows a person you trust to manage your finances, business, and legal matters in the event you become unable to do so yourself. That means they can take money out of your bank account, pay your bills, and even make court appearances for you until you recover and are able to handle your own affairs. You can appoint a loved one, an attorney, or other professional to act in this role.

Health Care Proxy: Choose someone you trust to make medical decisions for you in case you become incapacitated. Documenting how you want to be treated by a health care team and communicating with your chosen health care proxy about your wishes, will ensure that your medical treatment instructions are carried out. You can appoint a loved one, an attorney, or a social worker to make these decisions. Don’t forget to discuss your wishes with this person.

Living Will: A living will works in conjunction with a health care proxy by expressing your wishes as to how your designated agent should proceed in specific circumstances. Do you want life-prolonging treatment if you have a terminal illness? Do you want a respirator to help you breathe? You can choose a loved one, an attorney, or a social worker to be your agent.

Why It’s Important to Have a Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney

As a single person, it’s important to plan now so you and your assets will be taken care of in the future just the way you want. As an estate planning lawyer in Massachusetts, I can help you create your estate plan, so you control who gets what from your estate and manage your own future medical care in case you ever become incapacitated. Contact me at mkarr@maheritagelawcenter.com or 617.299.6976 to set up a free, confidential consultation.