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Does a single adult need an estate plan?

Single adults who don't have children might think they can skip out on the estate planning process. These individuals may not realize how far-reaching the impacts can be if they don't take the time to create an estate plan. One of the most important things to remember is that creating an estate plan gives you the power to determine what happens during your final days and with your assets after you are gone.

Creating an estate plan doesn't have to be a difficult matter. You have to make a few decisions. Those decisions are then relayed in a legal manner so that they will be followed when the time comes. Without an estate plan, everything is handled according to Illinois' intestate laws, which might not reflect your wishes.

What will happen in your final days?

Your estate plan will outline what you want for medical care if you aren't able to relay those wishes yourself. This is particularly helpful if you are incapacitated. Your health care directive provides some basic instructions. You also need to set the powers of attorney for health care so that you have a person who knows your wishes who can make decisions for you.

Many people turn to their spouse for this duty, but you need to think of a trusted friend of family member if you are single. Make sure you discuss what you are willing to undergo and what you want to avoid. The person should be able to make decisions based on your wishes and not their own desires.

You also need to set up a power of attorney for your finances so someone can handle all transactions related to your bills, finances and other monetary matters. This includes things like selling property or handling investments.

What happens to your belongings?

Your estate plan sets out a plan for your belongings. You can do this through a combination of a will and trusts. Just make sure that assets don't overlap. If they are in the will, they don't need to be in a trust or the other way around. Additionally, any accounts that have a payable on death designation, which include bank, investment and life insurance accounts, will be governed by those designations so they usually don't need to be included in the will or trusts.

Once you have your estate plan created, you should plan to review it periodically. This is necessary as your life circumstances change, such as if you get married or have a baby. You should also plan to go over it at least once per year.

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