For single residents of New York, drafting estate planning documents might not be high on their list of priorities. While they might feel justified in avoiding the subject of the inevitability of the end of life and what will happen to their possessions, it is still a mistake for a variety of reasons. Even single people who do not have dependents should think about an estate plan. There are certain key aspects to an estate plan that anyone – not just those who are married, have a family or have significant assets – should understand before taking that vital step of creating the document.

A health care proxy and a power of attorney might not seem important to a young, healthy person. However, these documents are integral for anyone regardless of their situation, as they allow preemptive decisions on medical care and finances if the person becomes incapacitated. It should be someone the individual trusts to have their best interests in mind. A will is an obvious need, but there are factors to think about even after the will is written. For example, naming an executor is a vital part of a will, as the executor will handle probate and pay outstanding debts.

A smart step is to have a revocable trust that will be the will’s beneficiary. With a revocable trust, the person can be the beneficiary while he or she is alive. If there is a significant other but no marriage, that person can be provided for. Beneficiaries should be listed as to who will receive the assets. There could be loved ones who the person wants to receive income streams and assets for their care and upkeep. A revocable trust needs a trustee, so that must be someone who can serve after the person has died and can manage the trust. Finally, the trust must be funded so that the person’s goals can be carried out as they want them to and there is a sufficient amount to achieve their ends.

A common mistake single people make is believing that an estate plan is unnecessary and will not be required until later in life when there is a spouse and children in the picture. For single people, there are specific estate planning devices that are important and should be put in place as soon as possible before there is a negative event. Getting more information about estate planning options can help.