In this article...
• Single individuals in Indiana should have a will to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes after their death.
• Naming a guardian for dependents and considering life insurance can help ensure that children and other dependents are taken care of in the event of the individual's death.
• Naming beneficiaries on accounts and insurance policies can help avoid probate and ensure that assets are distributed according to the individual's wishes.
• Creating a trust can provide more privacy and help avoid probate, and can be useful for providing for minor children or ensuring that assets are distributed according to the individual's wishes.
• Naming powers of attorney for financial and medical decisions can ensure that the individual's wishes are carried out even if they are unable to make decisions for themselves.
Regardless of your relationship status, estate planning is a critical process that everyone should participate in. Unique situations can happen when it comes to single individuals who are estate planning that must be taken into account. In this article, our Indiana estate planning attorneys will explore some crucial estate planning considerations for single individuals in Indiana.
The Importance of Having a Will
A will is one of the most essential estate planning documents for single individuals. A person's assets and how they should be distributed after death are included in a will. Indiana state intestacy laws will be used to distribute assets if a single individual dies without a will in Indiana. The intestacy laws may not align with that individual's wishes for their assets.
A will can also name an executor to manage the estate to ensure the individual's wishes are carried out in addition to distributing assets. Without a will, the court can appoint an executor to manage the estate, which may not be someone the individual would have chosen. Learn what happens when there is no will in our article, What Happens to an Indiana Estate if There is No Will?
If circumstances change, individuals must update their wills to reflect these changes. For instance, if they acquire new assets or if their family situation changes, they may need to update their will.
Choosing a Guardian for Dependents
A guardian for dependents should be considered for individuals who have minor children. A guardian is a designated person who will care for the dependents if the individual dies before the dependents reach adulthood. Deciding on a guardian can be difficult, and single individuals should consider factors such as the guardian's age, lifestyle, and ability to provide for the dependents.
Life insurance is another tool that single individuals with dependents should think about. In the event of death, life insurance can provide financial support for the dependents.
Naming Beneficiaries on Accounts and Insurance Policies
Another important step for single individuals is naming beneficiaries on financial accounts and insurance policies. Again, this ensures that the individual's assets are distributed to align with their wishes. Naming beneficiaries is also an excellent way to help avoid probate. Probate is a court process that can be both time-consuming and expensive.
The individual should regularly review their designations to make sure they are up-to-date. If an individual named their former spouse as a beneficiary, for example, and they have since divorced, they must update the designation.
Creating a Trust
Creating a trust is something else to be considered by single estate planning individuals. A trust is a legal arrangement where a trustee manages assets for the beneficiary's benefit. There can be several purposes for trusts. Trusts can provide for minor children and ensure that assets are distributed correctly. A trust is another possible way one can avoid probate. Trusts tend to have more privacy than wills since the terms of a trust are generally not made public.
Naming Powers of Attorney
Lastly, naming a power of attorney in estate planning should be given thought by single individuals. If the individual ever becomes incapacitated, a power of attorney can authorize financial and medical decisions on their behalf. This is yet another way to guarantee that the single individual's wishes are carried out even when they may not be able to communicate them. For the most up to date information on estate planning in read our article, Indiana Estate Planning Changes 2023.