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Estate planning is also for singles

Parents of minor children may have ample motivation to breach the topic of estate planning, but what about young singles?

At a minimum, everyone could benefit from planning for medical emergencies. After all, many employers require an emergency contact from their employees. In the same way, an estate plan can also provide guidance in the event of a medical emergency. 

Two instruments, in particular, may be helpful: a living will and an advance medical directive, sometimes called a medical power of attorney. In a living will, an individual can express his or her opinion as to certain medical procedures, such as artificial respiration, resuscitation, dialysis, and intravenous feeding.

In an advance medical directive, an individual designates another decision-maker, in the event of incapacitation. Sometimes both of those options are combined in a living will. An attorney can explain the specific requirements under Florida law, as well as ensure that a living will complies with federal law, such as requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. 

Of course, unanticipated medical costs and expenses could also create a financial crisis. In the event of incapacitation, a power of attorney allows an individual to designate someone to manage finances and sign legal documents on his or her behalf.

Even for singles without substantial assets, an estate plan is recommended to offer privacy. For example, even estates without a will or trust must go through probate, where the court applies the rules of intestate succession. That could be a very public affair, as an individual’s creditors may file claims against the estate. Placing assets in a trust can avoid probate and may also offer protection against creditors.

Source: Huffington Post, “Death Deal: Will or Revocable Living Trust?” Terry Savage, Sept. 22, 2014

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