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Estate planning for those who are not married

What happens to someone’s estate when he or she is not married? Those who have remained unmarried might feel as though they do not need to worry about estate planning at all, especially since discussions on the matter tend to focus on people with spouses and children. While your needs as an unmarried individual might be different, they are just as important.

There will still be some aspects of traditional estate planning advice that hold true. For example, it is still a good idea to create a will that disperses your property after death. However, you might want to prioritize documents that preserve your wishes during the end of your life.

Planning for end-of-life care

Like most people, you would like to live your last days in dignity according to your wishes. Without a spouse or other clear family member to make decisions on your behalf, doctors might not have any guidance when it comes to providing you care. To ensure that medical staff can fulfill your wishes, you should create a:

  • Living will
  • Health care power of attorney
  • Document naming those allowed to visit

The living will should outline your medical care wishes, especially when it comes to life-saving treatments. You should also create a health care power of attorney to accompany this document. This document names a trusted individual who can use your wishes outlined in your living will to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Keeping your finances in check

If you are in the hospital or otherwise incapacitated, maintaining your finances might be difficult or even impossible. This is where a financial power of attorney comes into play. The person named in a financial power of attorney can maintain your financial affairs in situations when you are unable to do so. This includes completing tasks, such as paying:

  • Mortgages
  • Hospital bills
  • Car loans

You should also take into account how you will pay for end-of-life or long-term care. It is not enough to hope that extended family members will take on the cost of such care. Incorporating long-term care insurance into your estate plan is a good option for most people.

Using a revocable trust

A revocable trust can be a great tool for anyone who is unmarried, has no children and is interested in protecting the distribution of assets after death. Property in a revocable trust will avoid probate, streamlining the distribution. This also makes it easier for surviving relatives who might have to otherwise deal with the time-consuming probate process.

Everyone has their own unique estate planning needs. What works well for one person might not be suitable for another. Learning more about your own needs and how those fit into Colorado estate planning laws is often a vital step in planning for your future.

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