Estate Plans for Singles

estate planning for single people

As a Single Person, Do I Really Need an Estate Plan? The Answer: Yes.

One of the biggest misconceptions about estate planning is that it is only important for those who are married. Estate Plans for singles ensures that your assets and responsibilities are properly assigned to the right people. In fact, while estate planning might be a little more complex for single individuals, it is just as crucial.

Continue reading to learn why. 

why singles need to have an estate plan

What Happens Without an Estate Plan or Will?

By law, the individual’s parents are the next-of-kin and will be responsible to carry out their child’s legacy wishes and distribution of assets. Unfortunately, their parents may not be in a position to take on that additional responsibility. Maybe the individual would have preferred someone closer in age, such as a sibling. Unfortunately, neither the family nor the Court would have any way of knowing this without a documented estate plan or will.

Is there a “Default” Plan for Singles?

Yes. The State of Wisconsin has a “default” plan for dealing with a single person’s incapacity or death. However, it is even less likely to resemble their desired outcome than with married individuals. This is why, in part, it is even more important for singles to execute financial and health care powers of attorney than it is for married individuals.

Need Help Creating Your Estate Plan? guardianship-milwaukee

Estate Plans for Singles - It is more important for singles than for married individuals

Control Your Assets – IRA’s, Life Insurance, Real Estate & Bank Accounts

With an Estate Plan, assets that name a specific beneficiary, such IRA’s or life insurance will be distributed to the chosen person(s) named. Nevertheless, assets that do not have beneficiary designations, such as real estate, bank or brokerage accounts, will go through the probate process and Wisconsin law will control those benefits.

What if I have Children?

If the deceased had children, the assets will go to the children, who will then receive their inheritance outright or when they reach age 18. If the deceased did not have children, his or her parents will be the beneficiaries.Estate Plans for Singles - Estate Planning for Single People

What Happens Without a Named Beneficiary?

If the parents are also deceased, then siblings, or even nieces and nephews, will receive the estate, which may not be what was intended. If any of these individuals receive government benefits, this unplanned inheritance will almost certainly interfere with those benefits. This is another reason estate planning for singles is so important.

What Can I Do to Take Back Control?

The only way for a single individual to truly control that outcome is to put a proper estate plan in place.

Issues can arise when a single individual passes away without an estate plan in place. Take the stress away from the unknown and plan your next steps for a will and estate plan. If you’d like to learn more details about taking these next steps, visit our FAQ Page by clicking here.

 

Need Help Creating Your Estate Plan? We Can Contact You!

Contact

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“More than 50 Percent of Adults Do Not have a Will,”

according to Chas Rampenthal, general counsel of LegalZoom.

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Is an Estate Plan Important for Parents with Young Children? Yes.

do I need a guardian for my children?

You want what’s best for your children. And, should anything ever happen to your and or your spouse, you want to know that they will remain loved and protected with a guardian you trust. That’s why creating an Estate Plan that outlines thorough details in a Will should be at the top of your list. Why? Sometimes the unthinkable occurs. An Estate Plan is designed to help you provide the best possible care and protection for your children, should a guardian ever be needed.

Read on to explore why Estate Planning will be the best thing you do for your children.

Is it important to have an estate plan for young children?

1. Give Yourself Peace of Mind – Guardianship

An Estate Plan covers many areas, such as personal health care decisions, who will receive your assets, in addition to who will have guardianship over your children. If one parent dies, the surviving parent will usually have custody of the minor children as they are the natural guardian. However, if both parents pass away, a Court will assign guardianship.

In the Court’s assessment, they will look first to the ‘Last Will and Testament‘ of the deceased parent(s). This is a legal document detailing the parents’ choice for caretakers. It is important to understand, however, that although the parents have nominated the guardian in the Will, only a Court can actually appoint the guardian. The Court usually confirms the nomination of the parents, with the understanding that this was a thoughtful, purposeful decision on their end.

Are there any Exceptions?

There are some instances, however, when the Court, based on additional information and recommendations by family and professionals, will appoint someone other than the parents’ first choice. For this reason, it is important to nominate at least one alternate choice for a guardian in the Will.

What is a will and why do I need one for my children?

2. Protect Your Child’s Future by Assigning a Guardian

If neither parent had a Will nominating a guardian, the Court will look next to family members. Many times there is a clear best choice and both sides of the family agree. However, without a Will, the situation can become quite problematic. What if multiple family members step forward, each believing he or she is the best choice?

Don’t leave your child’s guardianship to chance. It can result in a stressful, even bitter, prolonged and expensive proceeding that is difficult for everyone, particularly the children.

3. Consider Having a ‘For Now’ Guardian in Your Estate Plan

If you are having trouble choosing a guardian, it’s okay to nominate somebody that you might replace at some point in time. Pick someone “for now.” Children and relationships change, and your first choice of a guardian may change as well.

Does my child need a guardian? Connect with Isabell Mueller of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to learn more.

4. Make Sure You Have It in Writing

Most of us never think about dying. But sadly, not all parents live long enough to see their children grow up. As parents, you need to be prepared for the worst case scenarios and you need to have your preferences made known. Merely telling others who you want to care for your children isn’t enough. A guardian is only properly nominated when it is done in a Will.

Naming a guardian is perhaps the last and best gift that you could give to your children and family members. If you’re ready to secure your children’s future, Estate Planning can be simple (with the right guidance!). But, don’t wait too long. It doesn’t matter how little your children are. You want to make sure you’ve got a guardian in place so he or she can provide love and protection, should anything ever happen to you and your spouse. If you’d like to read more about how services and how to get started, click here.

Contact Mueller Law Offices today.

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How do your assets get to your loved ones following your death?

Everyone wants to take care of their loved ones to the greatest extent possible in the event of their own death. However, ensuring that your estate goes to your beneficiaries in the manner you intended is not as simple as it may seem. This process is known as “estate planning.” There are a number of strategies and tools in the estate planning process and no “one size fits all” approach. The following is a brief discussion of the various means by which the individual assets which make up your estate may transfer to your beneficiaries.

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Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples

There are many unique issues for unmarried couples to consider in the estate planning process. Because there is no “legal” relationship between the parties, it is critically important that these issues be addressed before problems arise. If left too late, you run the risk that your significant other may have no rights and could end up being entirely removed from your life, both personally and financially. So what documents should you put in place?

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Estate Plans for Single Individuals

estate planning for single people

As a Single Person, Do I Really Need an Estate Plan? The Answer: Yes.

One of the biggest misconceptions about estate planning is that it is only important for those who are married. Estate Plans for singles ensures that your assets and responsibilities are properly assigned to the right people. In fact, while estate planning might be a little more complex for single individuals, it is just as crucial.

Continue reading to learn why. 

why singles need to have an estate plan

What Happens Without an Estate Plan or Will?

By law, the individual’s parents are the next-of-kin and will be responsible to carry out their child’s legacy wishes and distribution of assets. Unfortunately, their parents may not be in a position to take on that additional responsibility. Maybe the individual would have preferred someone closer in age, such as a sibling. Unfortunately, neither the family nor the Court would have any way of knowing this without a documented estate plan or will.

Is there a “Default” Plan for Singles?

Yes. The State of Wisconsin has a “default” plan for dealing with a single person’s incapacity or death. However, it is even less likely to resemble their desired outcome than with married individuals. This is why, in part, it is even more important for singles to execute financial and health care powers of attorney than it is for married individuals.

Need Help Creating Your Estate Plan? guardianship-milwaukee

Estate Plans for Singles - It is more important for singles than for married individuals

Control Your Assets – IRA’s, Life Insurance, Real Estate & Bank Accounts

With an Estate Plan, assets that name a specific beneficiary, such IRA’s or life insurance will be distributed to the chosen person(s) named. Nevertheless, assets that do not have beneficiary designations, such as real estate, bank or brokerage accounts, will go through the probate process and Wisconsin law will control those benefits.

What if I have Children?

If the deceased had children, the assets will go to the children, who will then receive their inheritance outright or when they reach age 18. If the deceased did not have children, his or her parents will be the beneficiaries.Estate Plans for Singles - Estate Planning for Single People

What Happens Without a Named Beneficiary?

If the parents are also deceased, then siblings, or even nieces and nephews, will receive the estate, which may not be what was intended. If any of these individuals receive government benefits, this unplanned inheritance will almost certainly interfere with those benefits. This is another reason estate planning for singles is so important.

What Can I Do to Take Back Control?

The only way for a single individual to truly control that outcome is to put a proper estate plan in place.

Issues can arise when a single individual passes away without an estate plan in place. Take the stress away from the unknown and plan your next steps for a will and estate plan. If you’d like to learn more details about taking these next steps, visit our FAQ Page by clicking here.

 

Need Help Creating Your Estate Plan? We Can Contact You!

Contact

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

“More than 50 Percent of Adults Do Not have a Will,”

according to Chas Rampenthal, general counsel of LegalZoom.

Like this article? Please share it: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Estate Planning for Parents of Young Children

Most of us never think about dying. But sadly, not all parents live long enough to see their children grow up. Sometimes the unthinkable occurs. If you pass away, what will happen to your children? Who will raise them? If one parent dies, the surviving parent will usually have custody of the minor children as the natural guardian. However, if both parents pass away, then a Court will decide who will become guardian. In its assessment, the Court will look first to the Last Will and Testament of the deceased parent(s), the document in which parents name their choice for guardian. It is important to understand, however, that although the parents have nominated the guardian in the Will, only a Court can actually appoint a guardian. The Court usually confirms the nomination of the parents with the understanding that this decision was not made lightly by the parents. There are some instances, however, when the Court, based on additional information and recommendations by family and professionals, appoints someone other than the parents’ first choice. For this reason it is important to nominate at least one alternate choice for guardian in the Will.

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The Benefits of Creating a Trust to Hold a Child’s Inheritance

Providing for children in the event parents die prematurely takes more than choosing a guardian to raise them. Parents must also consider what will happen to any money or property their children will inherit. Children under the age of eighteen cannot directly inherit more than a small amount of money. With assets and life insurance, most parents will leave their children a great deal more than that. If the parents have made no provisions, a guardian will be appointed to manage the assets only until the child turns eighteen, at which point all the remaining assets are turned over the child. Creating a trust to hold the inheritance instead allows parents significantly more control over how the inheritance is spent for their children.

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Living Will vs. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

In the State of Wisconsin there are two separate health care advance directives:  the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and the Declaration to Physicians (commonly called the Living Will). As advance directives, both are designed to provide direction regarding your health care and treatment in the event that you are no longer able to make your wishes known. Beyond that, however, the two are very different documents.

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What You Need to Settle Your Affairs

A Checklist of Documents You Will Need to Settle Your Affairs After You Die

• List of Funeral Instructions and prepaid funeral contracts
• Medicare Card/Health Insurance Card
• VA File Number, Military discharge papers
• Birth certificate and Death Certificate
• Marriage license or Divorce Decree
• Prenuptial/postnuptial agreements
• Revocable/Living Trust agreements
• Last Will and Testament

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