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Illinois Estate Planning For Singles With No Children

Updated on
November 17, 2020
Article written by
Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we will discuss how to approach estate planning for singles with no children. We will answer the following questions:


  • Is estate planning vastly different for singles with no children?
  • What elements of the estate plan should singles focus on?
  • How do singles handle inheritances in their estate planning?
  • What should singles be aware of after finalizing their estate plan?


Many start to think about estate planning when they have their first child. Questions such as, "How will my children be taken care of if I die unexpectedly?" As time passes, those same individuals start to plan for easing the administrative burden of estate probate on their heirs. But what about those, whether through divorce, widowing, or never having been married, who won't have a spouse or children when they die? Unless they don't care about what happens to their worldly possessions when they die, estate planning is still essential.


Is Estate Planning Vastly Different For Singles With No Children?


No. Estate planning for singles with no children is much the same. Singles still need to consider a will and trust, appoint a financial and medical power of attorney, and designate beneficiaries.


Because each person's situation is different, who they choose as their financial and medical power of attorney will vary. If a single person doesn't have any living family members, they may need to select a friend as their power of attorney. Their choice for power of attorney should be someone they trust completely. Suppose they have concerns about finding someone they trust to make financial and medical decisions in their stead. In that case, they can create a document that gives explicit instructions on handling certain situations.


What Elements Of Estate Planning Should Singles Focus On?


One could argue singles may not have to spend as much time deciding what family members receive what. But they may also lack a legal default person, such as a spouse or children, who would naturally handle their affairs if they unexpectedly died or were incapacitated. Furthermore, it's easy to say that singles don't have to worry about where their assets are going after death, but this would be an ignorant statement. If anything, singles may have to spend more time deciding how to administer their estate and who should make decisions for them if they become incapacitated.


What singles should understand is that their estate plan's primary function is to protect them from the unexpected. If they can't identify a trustworthy friend or relative to appoint as their medical and financial power of attorney, they will need to consider RN healthcare advocates and financial management services.


How Do Singles Handle Inheritances In Their Estate Planning?


First, they will need to identify one or more beneficiaries. If they don't have any children or relatives they can or want to name as beneficiaries, then they can choose a charity, business, or just about any other entity. If they fail to name a beneficiary in their estate planning, their assets will be applied to their estate and go through intestate inheritance. However, by not naming a beneficiary, they risk their assets going through probate. Singles will also need to make sure the beneficiaries listed on their bank accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance policies lineup with their will and trust. If they are divorced, their ex-spouse may still be listed as a beneficiary on some accounts if they have not been changed.


What Should Singles Be Aware Of After Finalizing Their Estate Plan?


Just like those who are married or have children, circumstances change over time. Significant shifts in friends or family may necessitate a modification of existing estate planning documents. It's essential to make sure that those named in an estate plan as power of attorney or beneficiary still reflect your wishes as time goes on.


Illinois Estate Planning For Singles With No Children
Author

Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

Kevin O’Flaherty is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Chicago-Kent College of Law. He has experience in litigation, estate planning, bankruptcy, real estate, and comprehensive business representation.

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