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Single People and Estate Planning

While discussions for estate planning often focus on families, if you are single or do not have children, estate planning is equally as important.

If you do not have descendants, you need to do things differently. The consequences of not having a well-coordinated plan can create real problems.

Most single people own assets in their names individually and may also own some assets as a joint tenant with right of survivorship. Other assets, such as life insurance or retirement assets, will be distributed at death according to the terms of their beneficiary designations.

 How these varying assets are titled and how the beneficiary designations are prepared will directly impact who will get control of the assets and how they’ll be distributed at the individual’s death.

If an individual dies without a will (known as intestate), possessions are distributed according to the default laws of Pennsylvania. Under these state laws, a married individual’s assets typically go to their spouse or children. For a single person or person without children, however, the default under state law usually provides that assets are passed on to their closest relatives (e.g. parents, siblings, cousins). If there are no relatives alive, assets may go to the state.

To avoid having the state decide the fate of your assets, it is imperative that you put an estate plan to ensure your wishes are carried out.

To discuss any of your estate planning needs, click here to contact our office. Sallen Law, LLC proudly serves Philadelphia, the Main Line, Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County and Bucks County as well as southern New Jersey.