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How important is estate planning for singles?

Most Floridians know that estate planning is essential, especially if they have a spouse and children. Good estate planning, including a will, is the best way to express one's final wishes to their heirs. But, what if someone is not married and has no children? Is estate planning just as important for a single person as it is for someone who is married?

In a word: yes. Most agree that estate planning is extremely important for someone who is single.

It is important precisely because there may be no obvious individual or institution that stands to inherit a single person's assets. With a married individual, a spouse logically seems like the beneficiary. But, without estate planning documents, like a will, a court will have to decide to whom or where a single person's assets should go after they die.

One of the first estate planning steps a single person should make is to place a trusted friend or family member in charge of their affairs, should they become incapacitated. A living will and a durable power of attorney can be used to appoint someone to make financial and medical decisions for them. Without these critical documents, a family member who may not have known the deceased well may be forced to make these important decisions for that individual.

Experts also stress that a single person should create a specific map for untangling their financial affairs. This includes having directives, like a will, for distributing their assets. These documents should also include explicit details about where these important assets can be found.

Developing an estate plan for a single person can help prevent problems later on. However, any Florida resident who is single and wants to find out more about this topic may want to speak to an estate planning attorney to discover what type of documents provide the most benefits.

Source: Bankrate.com, "Are you single? A will is imperative," accessed on April 24, 2016

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