Many women in today’s world stay single by choice, and for those women who are married, we know divorce rates are very high. Studies also show that women are far more likely to survive their husbands. Therefore, we advise all women to create estate plans as if they are a single person.
The first step to making an estate plan is to identify a means to pay for future long term care. A 70 year old woman is likely to live another 15-20 years, which means that estate plans must now last longer than before. We encourage all of our clients to consider long term care policies and other hybrid policies, which have retained benefit features in case a policy is dropped.
The next step a single person should take is to select an executor of a will and a power of attorney agent. A failure to name these persons means a judge will one day be in charge of selecting who will serve these pivotal roles in managing the estate. It is best to name these people ahead of time so a person can ensure his or her health and estate are managed by competent people. These roles do not have to be filled by friend or relatives, so we recommend starting a “recruiting process” to find someone qualified to fill these roles. While more expensive, there are many professionals and or financial institutions that can handle these matters.
A power of attorney is an especially important document for a single woman to have, as unmarried partners or friends generally can’t make medical or financial decisions for each other without signed authorization. There are two powers of attorney documents a person can have: one for finances and one for health care. The same power of attorney agent does not have to be named for both documents, which means a person can choose one person to handle health care and another person to handle financial matters. Here at the Law Office of David Goldman PLLC, we offer personalized power of attorneys that will let those in charge know a person’s likes and dislikes. For instance, if someone hates liver and onions, we can draft a power of attorney that will request this food never be served to you while incapacitated.
A single woman should review her documents to make sure the beneficiary designations are correct. The most important documents to review are your life insurance polices and investment accounts. The beneficiary designations will tell the court what persons will inherit these assets regardless of what anything else says.
For more information on planning your estate as a single woman, contact our office today at 904-685-1200.