Estate planning for unmarried individuals is especially important because unmarried individuals do not have many of the legal protections afforded to married couples. There is often a need to designate financial and healthcare agents to assist the unmarried person in the event of incapacity during a lifetime. The unmarried person may have no children, or may not desire to have the children manage his or her financial affairs and health care decisions, instead preferring a girlfriend, boyfriend or trusted friend to do so. Unfortunately, those people have no standing under the law to provide assistance.
Intestate Succession Laws
Intestate provisions for who would receive the estate of an unmarried person do not provide for beneficiaries other than children, parents, brothers and sisters, and other relatives. Without a Will or trust, the unmarried person cannot designate specific relatives, such as a favorite nephew or niece, to receive an inheritance. Friends, charities, and even cherished pets are not provided for under the laws of intestacy.
At a minimum, and unmarried individual should have: (1) a living trust to hold and protect assets, assure an easy transition of management of your assets in the event of incapacity or death, and to avoid probate; (2) a pour-over Will as a safety mechanism in case a probate is necessary; (3) a Durable Power of Attorney for Property for management of income and assets in the event of incapacity; (4) an Advance Health Care Directive to designate the person who will make health care and other personal decisions for you if you cannot do so, and (5) a HIPAA Pre-Authorization Forms in order to facilitate communication between personnel at hospitals, doctor offices, labs and other health care professionals and your trustees and agents.
The Riverside Estate Planning for Unmarried Individuals Process
We will make things easy for you. Call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys. You will be provided a questionnaire to complete prior to your consultation. The questionnaire will help you in organizing your thoughts and desires and will make the consultation much more productive. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment and obtain your questionnaire.
After your initial consultation, we will prepare your comprehensive estate plan for you. You will be scheduled for a meeting with one of our estate planning attorneys to review your customized estate planning documents and sign them. The attorney will also explain to you at that meeting how to fund and properly administer your trust and other estate planning documents. Call our office at 951-888-1460 or contact us online to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys.