It is wrong to assume that only married couples with children and a significant amount of assets should worry about creating an estate plan. Any single adult who has assets in his or her name needs to ensure an estate plan is in place, and the plan needs to reflect the individual needs and wishes of that single person. While the basics may mirror the needs of any married couple in Michigan, there are unique needs a single person needs to reflect upon when creating that estate plan.
For a married couple, one party may select his or her spouse as a durable power of attorney. This kind of power of attorney is essential so day to day affairs, such as finances and bills, can be handled without fail while someone is incapacitated or unable handle such matters. For the single person, this responsibility may need to be designated to a trusted friend who can, and is, willing to make those difficult decisions, possibly under duress.
Decisions about a person’s medical care are extremely important and personal. If unable to communicate his or her wishes, a person needs to rely on the health care directive to ensure proper and wanted care is given. The person appointed to make these decisions should be a trusted individual also who understands the wishes pertaining to health care and can make decisions about end-of-life care or when life-support is needed.
For the single person in Michigan, the process of finding and designating individuals to take on these very serious tasks may be daunting or unpleasant to discuss. But, as with anyone who begins the process of creating an estate plan, it must be done. Without any kind of estate plan in place, a person who is married or single may be making an already difficult or overwhelming time for family and friends all the more distressing.
Source: marketwatch.com, “Estate planning for single people“, Douglas Rothermich, July 25, 2015