Are you happily single? Chances are pretty good that if you are, you haven’t thought enough about estate planning strategies. You’ve probably been too busy enjoying the good life. With all the money you have saved, you are no stranger to spontaneous trips to far-off locations, perhaps for Valentine’s Day, or even expensive purchases that you made on a whim.
However, with retirement getting closer by the day, you need to start thinking about what your future is going to look like. If you have yet to create an estate plan, here are a few strategies you can use to get started.
Create a Will
A will is the basic estate planning document, and you need one that is updated and complete. Do you know who you will name as your estate’s executor? After you die, this is the person who will tie up all the loose ends you leave behind, including taxes and, if necessary, probate. If you use the right estate planning strategies, probate won’t be a problem.
Name a Power of Attorney and Healthcare Proxy to Protect Your Interests
Do you know what will happen if you get in an accident or suffer an illness that makes you incapable of making important medical and financial decisions? As a single person, you don’t have a spouse to take on these responsibilities, so you need to ensure that the person you choose is trustworthy. The documents that name your power of attorney and healthcare proxy are only valid while you are still alive.
With a revocable trust, you will need to name someone to handle the affairs of the trust after you are gone. While you are alive, you can be the trustee of your revocable trust, but you also need to name a successor trustee to manage your assets. You will also need to name the beneficiaries you want to receive your assets after you die, whether they be a significant other, siblings, or nieces and nephews.
For nieces and nephews who are still underage, you should consider putting their inheritance in a trust until they are old enough to manage the money. Another way you can protect them is by designating what they can and can’t spend the money on. Whatever estate planning strategies you decide to use, knowing that your loved ones are taken care of will give you peace of mind.
Fund Your Trust ASAP
Many people think that because they have created a trust that they are finished. This is a common mistake. You still need to fund the trust. If you fail to fund the trust while you are still alive, your beneficiaries may have to go through the probate process. We’ve written about how costly and time consuming this process is before. Let us just say that if you can help your beneficiaries avoid probate, you should do so.
Use These Estate Planning Strategies while You Still Have Time
Estate planning is not just about making things easier on your beneficiaries. It can also make your life easier. Nobody wants to be creating their estate plan on their death bed, yet so many people are forced to because they did not take the time to do it while they still had vitality. We cannot emphasize enough that you do not want to wait, no matter how much time you think you have left, to create your estate plan.