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Kevin O'Flaherty

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.

older single woman talking to estate planning attorney

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.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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