As more single Texans move to the Houston area for professional employment opportunities, they want to know about estate planning for a single person. In the past, making asset allocation plans were considered to be only for older, married couples with children. However, as the average age of the workforce has decreased, the interest in estate planning for singles has risen. How is estate planning different for a single person?
I’m Single – Do I Even Need an Estate Plan?
Houston estate planning attorneys are often asked – why bother making plans while I’m single? The answer is simple – control. Even without a spouse or children in your life, most single people have collected tangible and intangible assets. Dying without an estate plan gives you very little control over the distribution of your estate. As a single person, an estate plan puts you in the driver seat to control all assets:
- Retirement accounts
- Family heirlooms
- Real estate
- Physical assets
Intestacy For Single People
Intestacy is the legal term for dying without a will. In Texas, intestate laws govern how your assets are distributed. For a single person who dies intestate, the order of operations is:
- Parents. Your assets are passed equally to your parents. If only one is living, and the deceased has no siblings, the entire estate is passed to the remaining parent.
- Siblings. If no parents are alive, the estate passes to siblings. If one parent is living and siblings are living, the estate is divided half and half.
- Relatives. In the event that a single person dies intestate and has no living parents, siblings, or decedents of siblings, the estate is halved and granted to the relatives of the mother and father’s family relatives.
In the rare event that no family members are still living, the state of Texas is given your assets. Dying intestate means giving away control of your estate distribution. If this plan doesn’t sound appealing, contact a Houston estate planning attorney like Keith Morris & Stacy Kelly, Attorneys at Law.
Considerations When Estate Planning For A Single Person
A single person should give consideration to these estate-planning options:
- Will and Testament. The first building block of an estate plan provides the “who, how, and what” of your asset distribution plan.
- Advanced Directive. This document is not just for the married or elderly. Single people should consider having an advanced directive on file, a document that outlines medical care in end-of-life scenarios.
- Power of Attorney. Choosing a power of attorney means choosing someone to handle your estate plan in the event of your death. Single people often choose parents, siblings, or close friends.
- Living Trust. A living trust has some advantages over a will, including some tax advantages. An estate planning attorney can help guide your choice of creating a will or trust.
For Houston singles, estate planning is a forward-thinking approach that should be contemplated. Waiting to make plans later in life could work. However, dying without a plan can burden your family with making choices for you. Contact Keith Morris today to speak with a Houston estate planning attorney. A plan for your assets is a plan for peace of mind.