A watershed demographic event occurred in the past few years, although without much notice: For the first time in U.S. history, there are more people who are single than married — 124.6 million singles (among 248.2 million people 16 and older) compared with 123.6 million who are married as of last year.
We'll leave it to the sociologists to figure out what that means demographically. Financially, singletons have their own challenges. Take estate planning.
Every one of majority age needs at the least a will, a health care directive and a named power of attorney
The express purpose of estate planning is to make things as easy, as inexpensive and as simple as required for loved ones, friends and associates left behind. Every situation, every life is unique and some of us need more than others when it comes to estate planning.
Disability and long-term care insurance becomes more important to singles because "there is no spouse or partner to rely on for help with covering expenses in case of incapacity and inability to work
Married people also have a spouse who can make medical decisions on their behalf, but single people must plan for medical contingencies
A single person needs to draft a durable power of attorney for medical and financial needs in the event they are incapacitated and unable to speak for themselves. Singles need to consider who will inherit their assets if and when they die — otherwise the laws of the state will prevail — which makes a living will with advance directives a good idea.
These are the five key documents singles needs to have for estate planning purposes:
- Power of attorney. That's very important, especially for a single person, as it allows for someone to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so. You want to have someone you trust.
- Health care power of attorney. This allows you to have someone make health care decisions if you are unable to.
- Revocable trust. A revocable trust is a private document to pass assets on.
- Living will. This is a document that has your health care wishes known.
- Will. A will is a public record to pass along and carry out your intent.
If you are single and living in Montgomery County, Philadelphia or the Main Line and would like to discuss your estate plan, please contact my office.