According to the 2010 United States Census the number of American choosing to remain single is on the rise. There is a common misconception that estate planning is less important for single people.While the focus of estate planning is often on married couples, estate planning is just as important for single people. However, single people face unique and complicated estate planning issues.

Selecting A Fiduciary

One of the most important pieces of any estate plan is selecting the person who will make your decisions for you in the unfortunate event that it becomes impossible for you to it yourself. If you become incapacitated, you want someone who you can trust and who will protect your needs. When making this decision, married couples often default to their spouse. But, for single people this decision can be more challenging. It is absolutely essential that you have someone selected who can manage your financial and medical needs, and the legal infrastructure in place to make it possible for them to do so. This will require serious conversations with key people in your life, and an important discussion with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Dealing With Estate Taxes

Taxes are a key consideration for every estate plan. A married person with a surviving spouse can leave their remaining estate to the spouse without being taxed. But, if you are single and pass on your estate will be subject to taxes. For single people estate taxes can become complicated. For instance, If you are now single due to your spouse passing away in prior years, a federal tax concept known as portability may be relevant for your estate tax. Tax questions are very individualized, it may be in your best interest to set up a trust.

Determining Beneficiaries

Married couples, particularly married couples with children, tend to have some clarity as to who to leave their property. Once again, this decision is often more more complicated for single people.You should have a will in place if you want to have any input on where your property will go. If you want to leave property to any specific relative, a friend or a charity, a valid will is an absolute necessity. In some circumstances, a revocable living trust might also be a favorable estate planning device.

Contact An Experienced Renton Estate Planning Attorney

When it comes to estate planning, everyone’s situation is different. A good estate plan is highly customized for individual needs. If you have any Washington state estate planning questions, contact Renton estate planning attorney Dan Kellogg.