The following is a question that was asked of me at a recent talk I gave. I thought I would share it with you. The individual was a man in his mid-40s and he said that he was single with no real family per se and he wanted to know why I thought it was important for him to do some estate planning. As he stated, “upon my death I really don’t care what happens or who gets my money.”
The first thing I told the gentleman was that he was making an assumption that estate planning only deals with death; it does not. In today’s world estate planning also deals with when you are living. For example, as I explained to the gentleman, what happens if you are in an accident and could not handle your financial affairs? In those situations, it is potentially possible that a court appoints someone to manage your affairs. The court is going to appoint someone who doesn’t know you, and you have no idea what they will do. In addition, it’s not as easy as you may think to regain your power once you’re healthy enough to do so. One last note, who do you think is going to pay to have your affairs managed? We all know the answer and that is that you will. Therefore, as I told the gentleman, you want to have an estate plan so that if in the unlikely event you cannot handle your affairs, someone who you want is assigned that task.
Another issue with having an estate plan that is essential for a single person, deals with medical issues. Having a medical durable power of attorney allows you to not only put down in writing your wishes when it comes to medical care, but also to name the individual who you want to make that decision. Once again, if you don’t have someone that you have appointed, the doctors and the hospital will make medical decisions and those decisions may not be what you would have wanted. Therefore, having an estate plan will allow you to take control of your medical situation.
It is important that we stop thinking of estate planning as only planning for one’s death. We live in a very complex and ever-changing world and it’s important that we protect ourselves. One way of doing that whether you are single, divorced, married or whatever, is to make sure that you have a plan and the legal documents in place to protect yourself no matter what the scenario. Life used to be easier and less complex. Unfortunately, or fortunately, those days are gone. Life is complex and is ever-changing and you and I must adjust to the times.
If you would like Rick to respond to your questions, please email him at Rick@bloomassetmanagement.com.