3 reasons unmarried adults in New York need an estate plan

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2023 | Estate Planning |

People can very easily find reasons to indefinitely delay creating an estate plan. Those who have not yet married often tell themselves that they don’t need an estate plan until they have family members who depend on them. What unmarried individuals may overlook is how the lack of a spouse might mean they have more reason to worry about property when they die and more vulnerability if they experience some kind of personal emergency, like ending up in a coma after a car crash.

It can actually be a very smart move for someone without a spouse living in New York to put together an estate plan for the three reasons noted below.

Control over their legacy

Perhaps the most basic reason that someone would draft a will or other estate planning documents would be to control who inherits from their estate when they die. Unmarried individuals may not have a spouse or any children to inherit from their estates, which then means that their closest family members, like their parents, will be the main beneficiaries when they die. Those estranged from their parents, with no close family or in romantic relationships that they do not intend to solemnize may want to put together an estate plan so that they determine who inherits their assets.

Support in a medical emergency

When someone is a minor, their parents can access medical records and make choices about their care. When someone gets married, their spouse will have that Authority if they are unable to speak on their own behalf. Unmarried individuals over the age of 18 may not have anyone with the legal right to access their medical records or make decisions about what treatment they received. Advance directives and powers of attorney can help ensure that an unmarried individual has clearly communicated their medical preferences and empowered someone to act on those wishes.

Protection from financial hardship

A medical emergency that results in someone’s incapacitation won’t just mean they need help managing their treatment. They will also likely need help maintaining their economic circumstances. The longer someone remains unconscious or unable to communicate, the more likely they are to fall behind on rent and other financial obligations. Financial powers of attorney can help ensure that there is someone to manage someone’s resources and meet their obligations when they are unable to do so. Durable powers of attorney, in particular, can benefit those planning their estates by helping protect them from a conservatorship later.

When people in New York understand the benefits that they may derive from estate planning given their circumstances, they may become more likely to make it a priority. Drafting the right estate planning paperwork given one’s circumstances can provide both legal protection and peace of mind for a testator.