For many individuals, it often takes significant life changes, added responsibilities, or the accumulation of substantial assets to motivate them to create a comprehensive estate plan. The catalysts could be getting married or remarried, becoming a parent or step-parent, or other circumstances. After all, most people want to ensure their spouse and children are provided for and have the necessary resources and security when they pass away. But what if you don’t have a significant other or children? Should you bother creating a will or trust? And if you do, who should benefit from it?
Simply put, if you’re a single person with no children, who should receive your assets if you were to pass away tomorrow?
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Why Should Single Individuals Create a Will
Single individuals may have specific people or charitable organizations they wish to name as beneficiaries. It’s not just about ensuring that their assets are distributed according to their wishes, but also about preventing their loved ones from experiencing additional confusion, costs, or conflicts when handling their estate after they’re gone.
Without a will, trust, or other legally binding documents that dictate how your assets should be distributed upon your death, the intestate laws of your state will determine this for you. If you’re married or a parent and die without a will, your spouse and then your children would typically inherit your estate, which may align with your preferences. However, if you’re single, these laws might allocate your assets to relatives you wouldn’t choose, or leave out the relatives you intended to provide for.
Options for Choosing Beneficiaries
Deciding who should be the beneficiary of your will is a deeply personal decision. Factors such as your goals, family dynamics, and the nature of your estate will all influence your choice. Fortunately, you have a variety of options, including naming non-relatives or even non-human beneficiaries.
You can choose anyone to be your beneficiary. It’s also possible to have multiple beneficiaries and assign specific assets to certain individuals, including items that hold sentimental value.
If you have a charity, school, cause, or other institution that holds significance in your life, you can leave some or all of your assets to them as well.
While many single individuals don’t have children, quite a few have pets that they consider part of their family. If you were to pass away without a will or other plans for their care, your dog, cat, or other pet could be left without a designated caretaker or plan for their well-being. While making your pet the sole beneficiary of your estate may not be practical since they would likely spend it all on food and toys, you can establish a pet care trust as part of your estate plan. In Michigan, you have the legal ability to create a pet care trust to ensure the care and financial support of your pets and other domestic animals. By funding the trust with assets from your estate, you can designate a caregiver and a trustee who will manage the trust funds. Often, these roles are fulfilled by the same person.
Contact Kreis Enderle Today to Begin Your Estate Planning
By creating a will and estate plan, you not only provide yourself with peace of mind but also offer your loved ones the clarity necessary to navigate through the grieving process. If you’re ready to start working on your estate plan, reach out to one of Kreis Enderle’s experienced estate planning attorneys today. Find out more at 5 WS.