As an unmarried individual, you need a Will to ensure that your estate passes according to your wishes instead of state law, and you need a power of attorney and health care directive for protection if you are unable to care for yourself.
As an unmarried individual, you may think you don’t need a Will. This is sometimes true, but most unmarried people DO need a Will. Without a Will your estate will pass to your heirs according to state law.
Heirs. Your heirs are determined by state statutory law. Without a Will, if you have adult children, your children will receive your assets outright regardless of their ages and whether they are mature enough to handle an inheritance. If you have minor children, without a Will that establishes trusts to hold your assets, state law requires that the assets be held in guardianship or conservatorship accounts and supervised by the probate court until your children reach age 18, at which time the assets will be turned over to them outright. If you don’t have children, your assets would pass to your parents if they are living. If your parents are not living, your assets would be divided equally among your siblings. If any sibling predeceased you, that sibling’s children would receive the sibling’s share. If you don’t have siblings, your estate would pass to more remote next of kin (aunts/uncles or cousins).
By preparing a Will you can decide who will receive your property. If you don’t have children and your parents do not need your property, for example, a Will allows you to skip your parents and leave your assets to your siblings, nieces and nephews, friends, and/or charities. Having a Will allows you to control who will inherit your property when you are gone.
It is also critically important to have a financial power of attorney and health care directive in place for protection if you become incapacitated. If you are not able to care for yourself, the agents you name in your power of attorney and health care directive will have legal authority to care for you and your property without having to go to court to establish guardianship or conservatorship.
The small amount of your time to complete the WillsbyWaybridge process is one of the biggest gifts you can give your family and loved ones.