FAQ: Estate Planning Guide for Single, Young Professionals
One of the most pervasive misapprehensions about estate planning is that it’s just for some people; for example, that it’s just for those who are wealthy, those who are married, or those who have children. In reality, any adult can benefit from the estate planning process, whichallows them to clarify their end-of-life wishes and ensure a positive legacy. We get a lot of questions about estate planning for single, young professionals; in this post, we’ll provide some answers, but we encourage you to contact us directly and consult with one of our attorneys one-on-one.
Commonly Asked Questions About Estate Planning for Single, Young Professionals
Why does estate planning matter if I’m not married/don’t have kids?
You might not have a family of your own yet, and your current estate may be fairly minimal, but that does not mean you cannot benefit from the estate planning process!
For one thing, estate planning allows you to stipulate what you’d like to happen should you ever fall into a coma or a vegetative state. Do you wish to remain on life support? And if so, for how long? With advanced healthcare directives, you can clarify your wishes and prevent your survivors, including parents and siblings, from having to make an anguishing decision for you.
Likewise, estate planning allows you to establish a financial power of attorney or a medical healthcare directive —naming someone you trust to make decisions for you if you are unconscious or incapacitated. You don’t have to have kids or be especially affluent to benefit from this.
Also note that, even if you don’t have children or a spouse, you may still wish to leave a legacy behind. Through estate planning, you can ensure that your estate goes to a charity or a non-profit that you support.
You can leave directions for how your estate can be used to pay for the costs of your cremation or funeral, easing the financial burden left on your survivors.
Which estate planning documents do I need?
Always start with a will, which will allow you to specify to whom you’d like your assets to be distributed when you die.
We would generally recommend having a trust, too, which can keep those assets out of probate and minimize legal hassle for your surviving loved ones.
Advanced healthcare directives and powers of attorney can also provide you with some peace of mind.
Can I name a guardian for my children even if they aren’t born yet?
Actually, yes; young professionals may already be thinking about starting a family one day, and one of the key aspects of estate planning is naming someone to be the guardian to your child, should you and the other parent die at the same time. You can actually appoint a guardian in your will even before your child is born, ensuring that you have the basic legal structures in place well in advance. Of course, you can revise your chosen guardian at any time or make further stipulations once you do have kids!
What about my pet?
Single, young professionals who don’t have kids may have other little creatures who depend on them. Through estate planning, you can specify the person you wish to serve as the new caretaker of your dog or cat, should you die unexpectedly; and you can even leave money in a trust, ensuring that the individual you name is well-compensated for taking care of your pet.
Am I too young to be thinking about estate planning?
Accidents don’t discriminate. Young professionals tend not to think very much about their own mortality, but the simple reality is that you could be struck by a bus today. It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but nevertheless, it’s important to be prepared. Don’t let an accident catch you without the proper estate plan.
How do I get started with estate planning?
When you’re ready to begin the estate planning process, the first step is to make an appointment with a qualified attorney. At Singh Law Firm, we have years of experience helping single, young professionals with their estate planning needs. Contact us today to set up an appointment or to ask any questions we haven’t covered on this page.