Single People Need Estate Planning

SinglesA watershed demographic event occurred in the past few years, although without much notice: For the first time in U.S. history, there are more people who are single than married — 124.6 million singles (among 248.2 million people 16 and older) compared with 123.6 million who are married as of last year. We'll leave it to the sociologists to figure out what that means demographically. Financially, singletons have their own challenges. Take estate planning.

Disability and long-term care insurance become more important to singles because—as you can guess—there’s no spouse or partner to help with expenses in the event of incapacity or an inability to work due to a disability, says a recent Main Street article titled “5 Items Singles Need to Handle Their Worst-Case Estate Planning.”

Married people have their spouse who can make medical decisions on their behalf. However, a single person has to plan for medical contingencies. He or she should draft a durable power of attorney for medical and financial needs in case of incapacity. Single people should think about who will inherit their assets when they die. If they don’t make plans, then the state will make these decisions.

The article relates the story of an attorney with a client who became disabled due to a brain injury. Even though the client had written a will in 1997, he never signed a power of attorney. This individual was not only single with no kids—he was an only child, so there was no one to help make medical or financial decisions. This person's first cousin stepped up, but had to go to court to get granted conservatorship to make decisions on his behalf, which took months.

The article lists five critical documents single people must have for estate planning purposes:

  1. Power of attorney. This is important for everyone, but especially for a single person. POA lets someone to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
  2. Health care power of attorney. This lets someone you trust make health care decisions if you are unable.
  3. Revocable trust. This is a private document to pass assets on to friends and loved ones.
  4. Living will.  This document has your health care wishes detailed.
  5. Will. A will is a public record to pass along and carry out your intent.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.  However, proper estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project.  Why not call us for a complimentary consultation at 757-259-0707.  

Reference: Main Street (April 22, 2015) “5 Items Singles Need to Handle Their Worst-Case Estate Planning”

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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
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  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
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Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.