Long Island Attorneys Assisting Singles with Estate Planning
Just because you are not married does not mean that you do not have assets. There are plenty of single individuals today with substantial estates – and those assets must be protected. Whether you have no immediate beneficiaries out of choice or you just haven’t gotten to the idea of marriage yet, starting early is critical.
Without a valid estate plan in place, the state of New York will have to tackle the task of distributing your assets, which may mean that your estate goes to family members to whom you wouldn’t ordinary gift your estate in the first place.
What Happens When You Die Intestate?
If you die without an estate plan, you are passing intestate. This means that your estate will go through probate court and the courts will decide who receives assets based on the statute’s hierarchy, which is as follows:
- Children of a deceased spouse
- Relatives of a deceased spouse
- The state
Instead of allowing the state to dictate who receives your estate, you can gift it to a partner, friend, charity, or even a business partner.
Tips for the Never-Been-Married
Because you do not have a spouse, you have designations to fill that would ordinarily be done by a spouse. Also, you need to consider what you want to do with your estate so that a judge does not dictate who receives your personal items.
- Assign a health care agent. If you don’t have a spouse, you need to select someone to be your health care representative in a medical power of attorney or health care directive. That way, if you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions, you have someone with the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.
- Name a live-in partner. Sometimes, individuals are not married, but that does not mean that they do not have a partner. Whether you have a partner from a different sex or a same-sex partner, you must create a will that designates him or her as your beneficiary; otherwise, the state will not recognize it.
- Pick an executor. You will want to pick an executor to make decisions and follow the directions of your will. The executor can be a close friend or family member.
- Guardians for children or pets. If you are single but have children, you need to designate a guardian for them. Also, if you have any pets, you can appoint a guardian to take them upon your death.
Start by Selecting Your Estate Planning Attorney in Long Island, NY
The laws regarding estate plans are highly involved. Therefore, you should first meet with an attorney to discuss what your estate may need and to start drafting a legal will. If you want to create a trust, assign a health care proxy, or even name an executor, it is best to consult with an attorney.
The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. can assist you with all of your estate planning needs. From drafting a will to setting up a trust, let us protect your assets and loved ones. Schedule a consultation now at 516-605-0625 or request your appointment online.