Although much of the common estate planning advice assumes planners have a spouse and children, the reality is that many Georgia adults are single. Unmarried individuals, especially those without children, have unique estate planning needs that should be considered when navigating wills, trusts and other estate issues. Here are a few particular considerations single people should take note of when it comes to estate planning:
- Establishing a power of attorney: Often, a spouse is designated as the power of attorney for both financial and medical matters. Those who are unmarried will need to identify trusted individual who can manage such affairs if they are not able to do so. It is also deeply important to provide proper documentation and clearly communicate wishes to these individuals, as they might not have as clear an idea of what to do as a spouse might.
- Documenting who should be able to visit at the hospital: Some hospitals or facilities have rules allowing only immediate family to visit an incapacitated person. Those without close immediate family will likely wish to name some close friends or extended family who can come visit. Putting this in writing in advance will help them be able to visit you.
- Preparing a will: Wills are important in general, but they are critical to single people in particular. For those without a spouse or children, the distribution of assets can become very complicated if left up to the state, and the process of finding relatives to distribute assets can be lengthy and expensive. Putting wishes, contact information and so on in writing will make a big difference when it comes time to distribute assets.
While most estate advice in newspapers or discussed in conversation may target individuals with spouses and children, there is thankfully plenty of helpful advice for single individuals as well. The best place to find this information is by speaking with an estate planning lawyer. A lawyer can provide very specific, targeted answers and support to help people get affairs in order so all is organized and clear well in advance.