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Estate Planning for Unmarried People

by Phil Levin, Esq. on March 23rd, 2015

If you suffer an illness or injury, and become incapacitated without a Financial Power of Attorney or Health-Care Power of Attorney in force, a local Court will be required to determine who will have the authority to handle your financial affairs and make health-care decisions for you. The Court may not choose the person you would have chosen, if you had taken the time to select and designate an Agent to serve under the terms of your Financial and Health-Care Powers of Attorney. In addition, going to Court to have a judge appoint a legal guardian on your behalf, to make financial and health-care decisions, is time-consuming and expensive.

However, with proper planning in advance of an illness, you can execute a valid Financial Power of Attorney and Health-Care Proxy, giving people you personally choose the legal authority to act on your behalf. These vital estate planning legal documents are also designed to advise health-care providers exactly what type of care you would like, and would not like, in the event of an end stage illness. Therefore, make sure that your comprehensive estate plan includes your Will, along with both Financial and Health-Care Powers of Attorney.

Single individuals who are widowed or divorced also need to make especially certain that the beneficiary designations of their IRAs, qualified plans, annuities, and life insurance policies reflect their current wishes. If beneficiary designations are not up-to-date, an ex-spouse could easily receive significant funds from these accounts, regardless of what your Will states, because IRAs, qualified plans, annuities, and life insurance distribute by the beneficiary designation on file, not under the terms of your Will.

In a nutshell, an up-to-date estate plan allows you to appoint your Agents for making financial and health-care decisions if you become incapacitated, and to decide who receives your property in the event of your passing.

Therefore, we urge you and your clients to: “Plan Today to Protect Your Estate.”

To learn more about how The Levin Law Firm can create an estate plan designed to help your clients achieve their wealth transfer goals, please contact our office to arrange a Complimentary Consultation at (610) 977-2443.

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