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Estate planning for single people without children

Having children often triggers many important life changes and decisions. Many in California, for example, are motivated to go through the estate planning process in order to ensure that their children are provided for if they become unable to do so. However, preparing a will and other important documents may be equally, if not more, important for those who have no children and are not married.

The process for married couples is typically pretty straight forward. Surviving spouses or children are often the beneficiaries of the estate. However, more and more people are choosing to wait until they are older to marry. If they were to pass away without a proper estate plan in place, the state would then determine how their assets would be divided. In the case where they were incapacitated, family members may be left fighting for the power to make medical decisions.

However, creating a will and medical documents allows people to have their opinions heard. While assets can be left to family members, friends or charities, many choose to name a friend or family member who is geographically close to make medical decisions. Even once such documents have been created, professionals recommend that they be reviewed and updated periodically.

To many in California, the estate planning process may seem overwhelming. However, with the assistance of an experienced probate and estate administration professional, the process can be efficiently completed. Without taking this step, loved ones may be left going to court in a time already filled with stress.Taking the time to create a will and name a durable power of attorney can save loved ones from added heartache and expense.

Source: The New York Times, "Estate Planning for the Never-Married", Fran Hawthorne, Nov. 11, 2015

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