Whether you’re married or widowed, divorced or single, it’s important to have the right documents in place to ensure that you have the help and care you need as you age — and that your estate is handled in the way you want. If you don’t have children, who often become caregivers and beneficiaries, making arrangements for your care and estate often requires more thought and planning.
The website dailycall.com recently posted an article, titled "Aging and estate planning for singles and couples without children," to help get you thinking about what you need to do to be well-prepared for the future.
Here are some of the ideas suggested:
- Choose your advocates wisely. Select individuals you can trust. This could be a friend, family member, or a trustee — just make sure everyone knows and will support your wishes. Select some younger people as alternates, if the people you ask are about your same age, in the event someone is not able to perform his or her responsibilities.
- Determine your asset distribution. A will is an easy way to put your intentions for your assets in writing and into a binding legal document. Your estate planning attorney is well-equipped to help you draw up a will that states how and to whom you want your assets distributed. If you do not have a will, your estate may be probated according to the statutes of your state. This may or may not be what you intended for your assets.
- Create a gifting plan. Another part of your estate plan can include strategies for giving monetary gifts before or after your passing. Currently, you can give up to $14,000 per person to an unlimited number of individuals without gift tax consequences. Another idea is to pay college tuition for others without gift tax liability and without using any of the annual or lifetime gift tax exclusions (provided payment is made directly to the institution).
The original article includes additional helpful ideas, and your estate planning attorney can create a plan that works for you.