Estate planning is not only for married couples – if you are single, estate planning can still be an essential financial tool. For example, you may want to:
• Arrange for your assets to be distributed after your death
• Pick someone to handle your financial affairs if you become incapacitated
• Select a person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate
As a single person, you will need many of the same documents as a married couple. People typically include the following documents in their estate plans:
• Durable Power of Attorney – allows you to carry on your financial affairs in the event that you become disabled. Unless you have a properly drafted power of attorney, it may be necessary to apply to a court to have a guardian or conservator appointed to make decisions for you during a period of incapacitation. This guardianship process is time-consuming, expensive, emotionally draining and often costs thousands of dollars.
• Health Care Documents – the most common health care documents our office prepares are the Health Care Power of Attorney (allows you to appoint someone you trust to decide about medical treatment options if you lose the ability to decide for yourself) and the HIPAA authorization form (allows the release of medical information to your agents, your successor trustees, your family and other people whom you designate).
• Living Will – informs others of your preferred medical treatment should you become permanently unconscious, terminally ill, or otherwise unable to make or communicate decisions regarding treatment.
At Scott, Tokerud & McCarty, we can help you create an estate plan that fits your exact needs. Call us for a free initial consultation at (406) 727-2200.